ASPEN — Floaty double corks ruled Friday night in the X Games ski superpipe. Reno's David Wise earned his second consecutive gold medal with back-to-back double-cork 1260s, the first ever thrown in the X Games superpipe.
Wise, who is recovering from knee surgery, said "it was my time."
"It's just as hard to win twice as it is to win once," said the two-time gold medalist, who admitted he started to get a little nervous when Aspen's Torin Yater-Wallace inserted the extra double-cork into his run down the pipe and finished with silver.
All three medalists won fresh off injuries.
"We are back, clearly," Wise said.
Simon Dumont, in his 12th year competing at the X Games at age 26, skied without poles after a 10-month hiatus after breaking his wrists.
Photos: X Games at Aspen, Jan. 25
"It's great to be up here," said Dumont, who took bronze.
The 17-year-old Yater-Wallace took silver in his first contest back after shoulder surgery last fall.
"I put the pressure on myself and it worked," he said.
Wise, the top qualifier, took an early lead with clean grabs on his double-flipping, three-and-a-half rotation tricks while floating 18 feet above the superpipe lip. On his second of his best-of-three runs he solidified his lead with even more amplitude, reaching a contest-high 20 feet and earning 95.66 points, the second highest ever awarded in X Games ski superpipe.
Yater-Wallace — who qualified second — went huge with his first-hit double-cork 1260 on his first run and even bigger on his second run. The 2012 X Games bronze medalist added an extra trick on his third run and added another point to earn his second X Games silver with a score of 93.
Dumont secured bronze in his second six-trick run with signature amplitude reaching almost 20 feet and earning 85.66 points.
As that was going on, the snowboard big air event was dominated by six riders delivering on the expected triple-backflip tricks in early and final heats. Those who failed to nail the dangerous trick were punished in spectacular crashes.
Halldor Helgason, a 23-year-old from Iceland, landed on his face trying a triple. A hush settled over the venue as he slid — unmoving — down the landing. He was knocked unconscious but came around and was moving, even holding an oxygen mask to his face as medics loaded him onto a stretcher headed for the Aspen Valley Hospital. He was diagnosed with a concussion.
Mark McMorris, a 19-year-old Canadian who won last year's big air contest, stomped triple after triple, spinning like a top off the 100-foot jump. Last year, McMorris' triple cork earned gold. Friday, his stylish triple flips — including a massive final hit — earned him silver with 94 points.
Norwegians Torstein Horgmo, Ulrik Badertscher and Stale Sandbech as well as Belgium's Seppe Smits joined the triple-cork party with solid, clean tricks through the finals.
Sandbech's cumulative 91 points held his lead until the very last two runs, when Horgmo stomped a monster switch triple. Horgmo ended the to-the-wire contest with gold and Sandbech took bronze.
In the women's ski pipe, South Lake Tahoe's Maddie Bowman bested her 2012 Winter X Games silver medal with a 91.33-point first run, earning the three-time X skier gold for the first time.
The 19-year-old U.S. freeskiing athlete who won the Copper Grand Prix this month stomped technical 900s and 720s to win her first X Games superpipe.
"I'm on cloud nine. It was huge (to land everything on the first run) because I didn't land anything on my other two runs," Bowman said. "I'm glad I stuck the first run."