James and Onitsuka claim silver medals as annual Aspen event draws to close.
Nick Goepper and Marcus Kleveland both soared to gold medals on the final day of 2021 Winter X Games action in Aspen with silver medals for Scotty james and Miyabi Onitsuka.
Norwegian Kleveland came into this year’s X Games with two Snowboard Slopestyle golds and a Snowboard Knuckle Huck gold, however he wanted a Big Air gold to add to his collection up against a stacked field.
On a night for the ages, the 21-year-old from Lillehammer landed a four-inversion, five- rotation quad-cork 1800 with an indy grab and a switch 1800-degree spin to his board’s frontside to earn two 48s and a total of 96 that pipped Swede Sven Thorgren to gold by one point with Mons Røisland third after a 93.
American freeskier Goepper, 26, bagged his first Winter X Games medal at the age of 17 with silver and followed up with three Aspen golds, 2018 Olympic silver and victory at Red Bull PlayStreets 2019 in Bad Gastein.
After beating Ferdinand Dahl and Evan McEachran to Ski Slopestyle gold, he told the Aspen Times: “It feels incredible. It’s validating, especially from all the hard work I’ve been putting in. After a few years, a little self doubt started to creep in. I feel better, my body feels great and my mind is sharp. Physical stamina played a role today and just being able to really trust your body to get you down the course.”
After snowboard legend Shaun White dropped out with a practice injury, the stage was set for another duel between three-time Buttermilk champion James and Japan’s Yuto Totsuka in Snowboard SuperPipe with the 19-year-old boarder edging out the Australian again for gold just like he did at the LAAX Open last week.
James, 26, whose last run could not better Totsuka’s third run, told the Aspen Times: “I just was coming out tonight with a run I was coming to do regardless of who was here and I’m glad I put one down.”
Japan’s Onitsuka fell just short of defending her Snowboard Big Air title after her best two runs saw her score 86, which was three short of American winner Jamie Anderson, but enough to claim a silver medal.