I was fortunate enough to be in Tignes for the first European X Games in 2010, and even in that first year it was world class event. I was working for the resort that season and it was evident that they were taking their task of recreating this massive competition in Europe very seriously. The event staff had been sent over to the Aspen for the US contest to see how it was run, and the park shapers and maintenance staff were trained by the guys who shape the park over there. They even brought the Zaugg Pipe Monster over from the US in order to replicate Aspen’s massive X Games superpipe.
Thanks to their thorough preparation and dedication, the event was a triumph. So much so that that they earned themselves the gig for the subsequent two years, and the Winter X Games Europe are now as synonymous with Tignes as the X Games are with Aspen.
This year’s event was arguably the best yet with incredible performances in both the superpipe and slopestyle. The bar was also raised by Shaun White who made his first appearance at the X Games Europe, and dominated both events. The women’s snowboard superpipe was won by the indomitable Kelly Clark who landed a massive frontside 1080 and secured her 17th consecutive win. Fellow American, Jamie Anderson clinched her 5th X Games gold medal in the women’s snowboard slopestyle with an incredible score of 98.
The UK also had its best ever representation with three of our world class snowboarders competing in the finals. Former X Games champion, Jenny Jones came 7th overall in the women’s snowboard slopestyle, with rising star Aimee Fuller coming just behind her in 9th. Our main man Jamie Nicholls put down his best ever run to take 8th place in the men’s snowboard slopestyle, which is a seriously good result considering he was competing against the likes of Shaun White and Mark McMorris! But Britain’s best result came from skier James “Woodsy” Woods who came fourth in the men’s ski slopestyle.
Tignes have made the Winter X Games Europe as big an event as its American counterpart, and the only down side to this is that it now attracts their best competitors, who dominated the medals tables this year. Europe has some very strong contenders though, and with a good number of them coming from our very own shores, it’s a very exciting time for British freestyle snowsports.
Did you catch any of the X Games in Tignes? What was the highlight for you? Leave a comment below…