In debut contest back from injury, the defending champ comes through – by Nick Cunkelman
Last March, Kaya Turksi had a victory lap at Winter X Games Europe, and it didn’t go as planned. Having already won the gold—her second “X Ag” of the year (she won Winter X 14 Ski Slopestyle in January)—the Montreal native went for a switch 9 on the last jump and came up with a partially torn ACL. But this time, at Winter X 15, the glory run was all that, and Turski is now a two-time defending gold medalist.
“I worked out all summer and fall and came back,” said Turski. “I expected a lot of myself.”
Turski’s winning run (her first back from the injury, notably) featured a straight slide on the down rail, a 180 switch-up to 90 out on the hand rail, a switch-on to the rainbow rail, a 450 off the cannon box, a switch 540 to straight 540, and a switch 720.
“And it was sick,” added silver medalist Keri Herman, after Turski recapped her run to the press. Utah native Grete Eliassen also joined Herman and Turski on the podium with her bronze medal, making the 2011 medalists identical to 2010’s.
“I was stoked, I like seeing everyone do well,” said Herman. “I think it’s awesome. It inspires me to do well.”
After her first run, Herman was in 9th place and crashed in her second, but put together a 360, 540, and switch cork 7 for a score of 93.33. Eliassen’s second run with a cork 7, 360 nose grab, and 900 notched a 93.00, good for a bronze medal.
“I just try to focus on myself when I’m going,” said Eliassen, who also wakeboards in the summer. “It’s great to cross-train.”
And in the wake of this year’s competition, Eliassen’s movie title this year—Say Her Name—could equally apply to women’s skiing.
Turksi, Herman, Eliassen: Say Their Names.
WINTER X GAMES 15: SKI SLOPESTYLE WOMEN’S FINAL
1. Kaya Turski 93.66
2. Keri Herman 93.33
3. Grete Eliassen 93.00
4. Ashley Battersby 92.00
5. Kim Lamarre 91.33
6. Jessica Warll 90.66
7. Anna Segal 80.33
8. Meg Olenick 76.33
9. Maude Raymond 75.00
10. Devin Logan 73.00
Nick Cunkelman is a senior at Colby College in Waterville, ME who grew up skiing at Vermont’s Mad River Glen, a mere three-hour drive from his home in Acton, MA. His writing has appeared in The Colby Echo, The Jackson Hole News and Guide, and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. For more photos, go to sport-write-shoot.tumblr.com.