Aspen, Colorado — For the first time in Winter X Games history, the Men’s Ski Slopestlye final was held under the lights at Buttermilk Mountain. That, along with the falling snow, provided the ideal backdrop for Tom Wallisch’s gold medal record score of 96.00, his first Winter X Games medal.
“This is amazing,” Wallisch said with a smile beaming across his face. “Under the lights in primetime and this crowd, it is amazing. I think it’s going to open the sport up to a bigger audience and make it just that much sicker to watch."
His winning run was highlighted by a wallride on the first feature, deemed Wall Street that left his fellow competitors wowed. With the competition level at an all-time high, Wallisch knew he had to amaze.
“It is getting crazy and crazier,” added the native of Pittsburgh, Pa. “Everyone was doing perfect runs it was just a matter of trying to stand out some how.”
Winter X Games rookie Nick Goepper, 17, who surprised many by being the top qualifier in the elimination round, finished just behind Wallisch with a score of 94.66 and the silver medal.
"I've worked hard to get here,” Goepper said. “I'm just real stoked to be on the podium with Tom and Andreas (Håtveit). All these people, all the media, the biggest stage for us, it's awesome."
For the third-consecutive year, Norway’s Håtveit grabbed the bronze.
"Everything just fell together,” Håtveit said. “The first run a couple things to clean up, second run one thing to clean up, and last run was just as I wanted it. I skied better than ever."
The Slopestyle course is approximately 1,600-feet long with six features and a vertical drop of 280 feet. Skiers attempt multiple tricks throughout their run on specially designed jumps, rails, boxes and other obstacles. Judging is based on creativity, trick competitions and style. The competitors are ranked based on the best score of their three runs.