Scotty James strikes early, takes gold in X Games halfpipe
Special to The Aspen Times
Scotty James certainly had a long time to wait, and so much to wait through.
James laid down his best run of the night — maybe the biggest of his career — on his first try in Thursday night’s X Games men’s snowboard superpipe event.
It wasn’t even just his first run. It was the event’s.
He scored in at 90.00 points and, despite the long list of elite competition that followed him for two runs down Buttermilk’s superpipe, none were better.
After nearly two more hours of snowboarding, that first run James landed was still worthy of gold.
“I was very nervous,” James said, considering the field that came in behind him, featuring, among others, eight-time X Games superpipe gold medalist Shaun White, two-time gold medalist Danny Davis and reigning gold medalist Matt Ladley.
“There was a very strong field, and I was stoked to come away with that first score, but there were a lot of fearsome competitors to come with great tricks,” he said.
They had the credentials, but on this night they didn’t have the scores and, one by one, they couldn’t land runs on a difficult, icy superpipe.
The few who could land runs ended up joining James on the podium. Steamboat Springs’ Taylor Gold, who missed last season’s X Games with a knee injury, landed his second run and scored a 79.00 to place third. It was his first superpipe podium.
Ladley, also from Steamboat, hit on the event’s final run, scoring a 80.00 to earn a spot on the podium for the second consecutive winter.
James also made his second trip to the podium in as many years after placing third last year.
“This means the world to me,” he said. “It’s cliche of me to say it’s a dream come true, but a lot of guys think of winning the gold medal at X Games. Today it happened for me, and I’m beyond stoked.”
Chase Josey was fourth, Danny Davis fifth and Louie Vito sixth. Olympic gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov finished 10th in the 12-rider field and White was 11th.