I had a rough go in Stoheham for the world championships so it was very refreshing to get to Aspen for the X Games. The X Games are always one of the highlights of the season for me and the riding is the best you will see all season.
I had a great few days of training and definitely felt solid with my runs for semis. There is a ton of media hype that surrounds X Games so it is definitely a little harder to keep focused in Aspen with so much going on but being my seventh X Games I have learned to keep my head in the game. The semifinal at X Games tends to be the best show of all… 16 of the best riders in the world are fighting for eight spots in the final and it gets crazy. I have seen some of the best riding in my career in the X Games semifinal and this year would be no different. With all the high-level riders there we all knew it was going to be a battle so I made sure to come prepared, I stomped my confidence run and was able to hold my spot and qualify fifth. In the end some of the best competitors were not able to put down their runs and were left outside of the bubble. Sometimes semis knocks out a few of the best competitors, which is a bummer but you just have to focus on the final and move on. I was disappointed that I wouldn't have my teammates Eric Willett and Sage Kotsenburg in the final with me but I knew I wanted to put it down for the team.
We had a few days of rest which was awesome. It’s great to get to watch all of the other events at X Games; watching skiing and snowmobiling helps to keep the week exciting. It’s always a busy week filled with signings and spending time with your sponsors. I make sure to balance rest time with work and keep my focus.
This year I was back into the Friday night Big Air. I have been out of this event for a few years so it was a nice change of pace. It was crazy to be there riding with the boys when Torstein Horgmo, Mark McMorris, and Stale Sandbech put down game-changing tricks. It was an ever-present reminder of the direction our sport is heading and I am grateful to be here and to witness the progression of our sport. I ended up missing the final in Big Air by one spot, but it was okay because I got to sit back as a spectator and watch snowboarding change forever and I couldn't be more stoked for my friends.
Saturday morning was slopestyle finals and we were blessed with great weather and a midday time slot which was awesome. I had a plan to put down a mellow run first run then use my second and third runs to hopefully put down a podium run. I was able to stomp run number one which held me towards the front of the pack while I tried to put down my better runs. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to put down runs two and three and ended up with my third fourth-place finish in X Games slopestyle. Fourth place is always a bit of a stinger because you are so close to the podium you can almost taste it. Although it is good for the soul to have a little kick in the butt and I was stoked to see the progression of snowboarding both in Big Air and slope… I have some work to do and luckily I like to work. Now it’s off to Tahoe for some good old fashioned training before the next stretch of contests. Another X Games done!