Oakley Takes Silver, Bronze at Women's Ski Slopestyle
Under what can be considered some of the most adverse weather conditions at a competition, Australia’s Anna Segal braved the elements to take gold in the very first women’s ski slopestyle at X Games. Rainy at times, and down right blizzardy at other times, the X Games slopestyle course was slow, flatly lit and very dangerous for competitors. No newcomer to the X Games, Oakley’s Grete Eliassen put down 360s, and 720s in both her runs, to claim that silver medal. And rounding out the podium was Oakley’s Kaya Turski, who 270ed the DFD, switched up the flat box and dropped a 540 on the bottom jump to claim the bronze (Kaya, on her first run, stomped said 540 on one ski).
Pick out any female slopestyle skier, and she’ll probably tell you that her kind is underappreciated, discouraged from achieving, and given insufficient opportunities put its value and talent on display. Or at least you’d be able to get her to admit that she agreed with that statement to some degree. The Powers That Be have been slowly coming around on that issue. And the number of legitimate women’s slopestyle contests (and legitimate female slopestyle skiers) has grown as a result. The addition of Women’s Ski Slopestyle to the Winter X Games was a huge victory for female slopestyle skiers – and well deserved, considering the talent possessed within the 8-skier field.
No matter how much the world of event organizers says “yes” to it, Mother Nature doesn’t want to stop saying “no.” Today’s Women’s slope took place under gray skies, well, in gray skies, to be more exact. A thick fog ruined visibility throughout the event, and a heavy mix of rain and snow slowed made clearing the tabletops in the course very difficult for all of the field, impossible for some. As a result, what should have been the ladies’ debut on the biggest stage in action sports became a struggle to balance the desire to rise to the occasion with the need to protect physical safety.
With a fast, clear course, the inaugural Women’s Ski Slope contest would have undoubtedly turned heads. Instead, the event was bittersweet as two out of the eight competitors had to be carried off of the course. Kim Lamarre got whipped to the ground by a pocket of deep, wet snow she encountered after landing just barely off of the center line of the course. And Sarah Burke, perhaps the longest and hardest fighter for making this day happen, went for the big takeoff of the final jump, trying to punctuate a run that would have surely contended for the win, had the speed been there to get her to the landing, or even the knuckle, for chrissake.
To their credit, the skiers who could go fast enough performed well. But the conditions and consequent injuries kind of sucked the air out of what would have been a great event. Next X Games, let’s hope that the weather cooperates next year.