When the then 13-year-old Chloe Kim took second place to Kelly Clark at last year’s X Games halfpipe final, it was clear it’d only be a matter of time before she’d be on the top step. As it happened, we only had to wait a year – last night Chloe bested Kelly and Torah Bright to become the new X-champ.
Still sporting a war wound from a practice run gone awry, Chloe needed to score over 90.00 on her last drop to get ahead of Kelly’s first-run score, which had included her trademark 1080 and a super-smooth 16-foot crippler. A switch backside air set the tone, and although the amplitude started to fall away on the following two hits (cab 900 and switch backside 720), she finished strong with a McTwist and a huge frontside 900 tailgrab.
Kelly still had a chance to find an answer to Chloe on her last run, but opted to squeeze in a sixth hit and slammed when she ran out of pipe. Meanwhile Torah’s last two runs came unstuck, and her usual composure abandoned her at times during her first, so she would have to settle for third.
This was by no means a walkover for the teenage prodigy, but alongside her obvious technical skill we’ve now seen some serious performance-under-pressure credentials too. Up against two legends, including the most dominant female snowboarder in history, she was able to pull it out the bag when it mattered and take the gold – with a battered mug to boot. Could this be the start of a streak that could leave even Kelly’s in the dust? We wouldn’t be surprised.
Just the men’s and women’s slopestyle left for X Games 2015, both of which are taking place this afternoon. We’ll have the full report and highlights as soon as they’re available, so keep ’em peeled.