The biggest action sports event in the world, X Games, returned to Aspen, Colorado this past weekend for its 20th consecutive year, and to say that things looked a little different this time around would be putting it lightly.

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ESPN, alongside Aspen Snowmass, were able to admirably and successfully take a page out of the major sports organizations’ current playbook by hosting the three-day series of competitions without spectators, and much to the delight of those watching from home and the athletes participating in person, it went off without a hitch.

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images

The action kicked off on Friday with the first of seven ski (and seven snowboard) events, Women’s Big Air, in which Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud threw down the most technical trick in female freeskiing history—a switch double cork 1440—to win her third X Games gold medal, while Canada’s very own rising star Megan Oldham brought home the silver, and one of the biggest stories of the weekend, Eileen Gu, picked up the bronze for her first of three medals in her rookie year at X Games.


Women's Ski Big Air Results

1) Mathilde Gremaud
2) Megan Oldham
3) Eileen Gu
4) Caroline Claire
5) Sarah Hoefflin
6) Isabel Atkin

Next on the ski schedule was Women’s Superpipe under the lights, in which the aforementioned Eileen Gu, who hails from San Francisco but represents China on the world competitive stage, capped off her first-ever competition day at X Games with her first-ever gold medal (and the first time an X Games rookie has won women's ski superpipe), while two-time champion and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Cassie Sharpe of Canada had to settle for second after going down hard on a cork 1260 attempt and being tobogganed off, and fellow Canadian Rachael Karker added another bronze to her trophy case to round out the top three.


Women's Ski Superpipe Results

1) Eileen Gu
2) Cassie Sharpe
3) Rachael Karker
4) Zoe Atkin
5) Devin Logan
6) Annalisa Drew
7) Brita Sigourney

Right after the ladies’ bright showing it was the men’s time to shine, and after a high-flying battle with some never-been-done tricks, New Zealand’s Nico Porteous stomping back-to-back left and right double cork 16s earned him his first X Games gold medal, while past winner Aaron Blunck brought home the silver and Birk Irving won his first piece of X Games hardware with the bronze.


Men's Ski Superpipe Results

1) Nico Porteous
2) Aaron Blunck
3) Birk Irving
4) Brendan MacKay
5) David Wise
6) Gus Kenworthy
7) Alex Ferreira
8) Noah Bowman

Saturday then saw two ski events take place, with Women’s Slopestyle in the morning, where Eileen Gu made it three-for-three on the medal count by scoring her second gold of the weekend (proving that she is and will surely continue to be one to watch), while the always consistent Isabel Atkin finished second and Megan Oldham won her second medal of the weekend with a bronze.


Women's Ski Slopestyle Results

1) Eileen Gu
2) Isabel Atkin
3) Megan Oldham
4) Sarah Hoefflin
5) Mathilde Gremaud

The second of two action-packed showings on the day’s docket was Men’s Big Air, which took place in the evening and saw a dizzying display of brand-new and mind-boggling tricks unleashed, highlighted by Andri Ragettli’s triple cork 1980 and pretzeled triple cork 1260, which was more than enough to authoritatively pick up the win, while Antoine Adelisse’s and Alex Hall’s highly unique rotations and grabs nabbed them the silver and bronze, respectively.


Men's Ski Big Air Results

1) Andri Ragettli
2) Antoine Adelisse
3) Alex Hall
4) Alex Beaulieu-Marchand
5) Evan McEachran
6) Henrik Harlaut
7) James Woods
8) Quinn Wolferman

To wrap things up on Sunday, Men’s Slopestyle went down in the morning, where Nick Goepper, who won back-to-back gold medals in the event in 2014 and 2015 but hasn’t been on the X Games podium since 2017, returned to glory with a gold medal performance, while Ferdinand Dahl’s creativity scored him the silver and Oakville, Ontario’s prodigal son Evan McEachran stood on the podium for the second year in a row by grabbing the bronze.


Men's Ski Slopestyle Results

1) Nick Goepper
2) Ferdinand Dahl
3) Evan McEachran
4) Alex Beaulieu-Marchand
5) Andri Ragettli
6) Alex Hall
7) Colby Stevenson
8) Fabian Boesch
9) James Woods
10) Quinn Wolferman

Then, to close the show, the winner-take-all Knuckle Huck went down on the landing of the big air jump at night. Since its inception two years, the relaxed and unique event has been a crowd-pleasing one for fans and the competing skiers alike, as it gives the latter the opportunity to showcase the type of tricks that you wouldn’t normally see on one of the grandest stages of them all. And once the fun-filled, hour-long display of butter and flipped-filled wizardry was all said and done, in what is being hailed by some as a eyebrow-raising decision online (partially due to his decision to reportedly opt out of competing in slopestyle earlier in the day over his disagreement with the previous night’s judging in big air), the judges ultimately awarded the gold to the winningest skier in X Games history, Henrik Harlaut.


That's all for the 2021 edition of X Games Aspen. A huge hats off to the organizers and athletes for banding together to pull the event off safely and efficiently for our enjoyment, and we're already looking forward to next year's installment, hopefully with the legion of screaming fans that we're accustomed to seeing at the base of Aspen Snowmass. For more info, recaps and videos from the event, be sure to visit xgames.com.

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