The women's Snowboard SuperPipe competition was a visual spectacle with a fifth career X Games victory for Kelly Clark! The veteran rider pulled off a stunning victory despite some very steep competition from Elena Hight. Hight stomped a masterfully executed double backside rodeo on her first run — the first in competitive history!
“I tried to maintain amplitude and my technical trick in the first hits,” said Clark. “The level of competition tonight was at an all time high. What Elena did for the sport was incredible tonight. I was so excited for Elena. Regardless of what the competition does I always go out to do my best run. Having a first run fall isn't ideal, I went basic run for my second run and liked the pressure on my third. Dropping last was great and I played on my strengths, amplitude and execution. I might need to go back to the drawing board a bit. A few years ago learning a 1080 was a huge step and I am really looking forward to the future.”
Hight's double backside rodeo was a huge crowd pleaser, and caused an immediate uproar when she pulled it off.
The progressive run earned the young snowboarder a 90.00.
“I was pretty blown away that I landed that,” said Hight.
Hight talked about what went into perfecting the maneuver, explaining, “I'm very excited, I've been thinking about doing the double since last May when I landed it in training. This is what I came here to do. I am going to work on dialing this in, obviously doubles are the way the sport is going and it's inspiring. As women we are a step behind them but totally capable. I think Kelly rode amazing tonight and I wanted to go all out, but I could have gone bigger, grabbed my tricks longer and rode a bit better. I'm just happy that I landed it.”
The pressure was now on Kelly Clark to defend her title. After low scoring runs in the first and second, Clark came out of the gates swinging in the third, throwing down a clean frontside 1080, cab 720, frontside 900, backside 540 and frontside endurance. The run allowed Clark to narrowly edge out Hight with a 90.33!
The podium was rounded out by teen rider Arielle Gold who got a last minute invite to the X Games after hers recent victory in the FIS Snowboard World Championship halfpipe. Originally scheduled as an alternate, the young athlete was granted a spot in the finals only after veteran competitor Gretchen Bleiler bowed out of this year's X Games due to injury.
“I’m still in shock, I’m so unbelievably excited,” Gold said, “This could’ve been anyone’s contest.”
One could argue that the back and fourth battle made for one of the most intense events in X Games history!