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Winter X Games 14: Day One recap
Written By: Curtis Wackerle

Check out photographer Heather Rousseau's photo album from Day 1 of Winter X 14.

Shaun White at Winter X Games 14

         As a rare layer of early morning fog burned off into a classic bluebird Colorado day, the first full day of Winter X Games 14 in Aspen brought joy to one athlete and sorrow to an other.

Kaya Turski — great name, by the way — had a performance so dominating Thursday in the women’s ski slopestyle finals that the 21-year-old from Montreal could have won all three medals.

         Metaphysically speaking, that’s not exactly possible, but all three of Turski’s run’s scored higher than anything thrown down by the rest of the field, scoring a 92 on her first, a 93 on the second and a 96 on what many were expecting to be a mellow victory lap.

         But unfortunately, Australian snowboarder Torah Bright suffered a concussion on a practice run in the superpipe around 11 a.m. while attempting a 540 crippler move in the superpipe.

         Due to the injury, Bright, 23, will miss Sunday’s women’s snowboard superpipe competition, where she was considering attempting the first double cork 900 maneuver ever by a female in a competition. It is unknown if the concussion will have any effect on Bright’s Olympic prospects, where she is considered perhaps the strongest threat to upset the U.S. team’s dominance. Bright was “super bummed” about missing her shot at the X Games this year, according to ESPN personnel.

         One of the highlights of the ski slopestyle finals came from Sarah Burke, 27, of Whistler, British Columbia, who attempted a 1260 on the last hit of her final run. Burke, an X Games gold medalist in the superpipe known for her big air prowess, was building up to the big air through out her three runs and attempted a 1080 on run number two. Unfortunately she was unable to land either trick. Had she nailed the 1260, which is three and a half rotations, it’s believed it would have been the first time a female had landed the move in competition.

         “Like they say, go big or go home,” Burke said.

         Turski claimed bronze in last year’s X Games women’s ski slopestyle, and said she pressured herself to do better this year.

         “I can’t even describe what a gold medal means to me,” Turski said in a presser after the event. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid and it’s absolutely unreal to have a gold medal hanging off my neck right now.

         This year’s slopestyle course is compact, with little down time in between features. The top section has four separate rail features, followed by three tabletop jumps in quick succession, the largest of which has a 68-foot transition.

         In the women’s snowboard superpipe elimination, the field of 16 was taken down to six who will compete in Saturady’s final. No surprises here as the top four riders are the same as the U.S. Snowboard Team heading to the halfpipe in Vancouver. Kelly Clark placed first, followed by Gretchen Bleiler, Elena Hight, Hannah Teter, Ellery Hollingsworth and Soko Yamaoka.

The crowd during the first day of Winter X was still light, with a strong contingent of family and friends cheering their loved ones on. That’s all bound to change as X Games heads into the weekend where as many as 30,000 people can show up at Buttermilk in one day.

 

Photo: Shaun White was the number 1 qualifier for the men's superpipe finals on Friday.

Check out the slideshow of photos below from photographer Heather Rousseau:


 


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