ASPEN, Colo. -- American riders swept the podium in Men's Snowboarder X on Saturday at Winter X Games 2012, with Nate Holland claiming his sixth Winter X gold after beating out Nick Baumgartner and Jayson Hale in a rough and tumble final at Buttermilk. Holland is a favorite in any boardercross event and won his heats in quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday, but finals ended up being a fight to the finish.
"I overshot a jump up in the start," Holland said after the race, explaining how he came to be caught up in the pack at the top of the course. "I was hitting my hole shots all day so that was pretty much the only time all day I rode in traffic."
Holland lost his early lead to Stian Sivertzen and Pierre Vaultier in that traffic before those two tangled up farther down the course.
"Stian was riding really well and I was trying to figure out where to get around him, just really trying to figure out where to go," Holland said. "I'd come up right on him and then he went down and gave me a clear shot to the finish. That's boardercross."
That's boardercross, indeed. After an earlier bobble in the race, Baumgartner had fallen all the way back to fifth place but managed to make his way through the tangle to move up to second position.
"You just ride and if something goes wrong … especially on this course, you can't get frustrated," said Baumgartner, celebrating his silver medal at the base of the X course. "You just need to keep riding and try to smoothen everything out because anything can happen. I'm just glad to be on the podium."
Holland had five consecutive victories from 2006 to 2010 but slipped to bronze last year. His win on Saturday brings his total Winter X Games medal tally to nine.
"Congrats to Nate," Baumgartner said. "USA's sweeping the podium!"
Check out full results from the Men's Snowboarder X finals.
Colin Bane is a freelance writer who writes for ESPN.com Action Sports.