Sammy Carlson won the men's ski Slopestyle finals at Winter X 15 Saturday in Aspen, Colo. Australian Russ Henshaw, who qualified first for Slopestyle finals, earned second place. And Norway's Andreas Håtveit got the bronze.
"It's been so long," Carlson said. "I've wanted this since I was a little kid. I've got my whole family here with me. Nothing feels better than this."
This is Carlson's sixth appearance at Winter X Games, but his first gold medal. He's been on the podium three times before -- silver in 2007, 2009 and bronze in 2010. In a pre-Winter X interview, Carlson told ESPN that a Winter X gold was at the top of his list of unfulfilled goals.
It was Carlson's first run that earned him the day's highest score, a 93.33. Carlson's jumps -- a double rodeo 9, a switch double rodeo 9, and a double cork 10 -- were comparable to those of the other competitors in the top five. But it was Carlson's technical rail tricks, highlighted by a 450 on to a 630 off the rainbow rail, that differentiated him from the field.
Henshaw's first run scored a 90.66 to put him into second place. He knew while he was skiing it that the run had a chance at the win, if only he could execute it well. "I was just thinking to myself, 'Land, land, land,'" said Henshaw. "It feels great to have done it."
In run three, the sun dipped below the horizon. And with the whole course in the shade, competitors were having trouble dealing with the increase in speed. Håtveit, who had had trouble on his first two runs, was the only competitor in the final run to ski the course cleanly. The score he earned, a 90.00, was good enough to put him in third place, pushing defending champ Bobby Brown down to fourth.
"Finally, I put it all together," Håtveit said in reference to his bronze medal run. And then, looking over to his brother, Jon, Håtveit said, "Are you proud of me, brother?"
Check full results here.