After taking the top spot in Oslo, can Cheryl Maas do the same in Aspen? Photo: Will Sleigh
After an absence of sixteen years, women will once again be competing in Big Air at the Winter X Games' showcase event. Eight riders - Jamie Anderson, Anna Gasser, Hailey Langland, Cheryl Maas, Julia Marino, Klaudia Medlova, Spencer O'Brien and Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas - are due to line up at Aspen's monster booter on Thusday.
From 1997 to 2001, women's Big Air drew the likes of Barrett Christy, Tina Basich and Tara Dakides (who won the last three events on the bounce), but it was dropped in 2002 when the Games moved to Aspen. While it would occasionally pop up at other contests over the years, women's Big Air was generally neglected.
In recent years, though, there's been something of a resurgence. In 2014 it was adopted into the FIS calendar for the first time, but one event has done more than most to bring it back into the spotlight - Nine Queens. A breeding ground for new tricks, this pseudo-contest make it abundantly clear that women's Big Air is no less amazing to watch than men's.
"After a successful showing at the Oslo X Games back in February 2016, women's Big Air was given the go-ahead for Aspen too"
The organisers' official line was always that there just wasn't enough time during the Games to cram in everything; much like the Winter Olympics, disciplines at X chop and change from year to year (indeed, Snow Biking is also making an appearance in 2017).
After a successful showing at the inaugural X Games Oslo back in February 2016, women's Big Air was given the go-ahead for Aspen tooIf we were the gambling type, we'd bet that it had more to do with the discipline's acceptance into next year's 'lympics.
In any case, the inclusion of women's Big Air is definitely a positive move for the X Games. There's still the problem of invite-only rider lists, and the fact that at any moment the slopestyle coverage may cut to the snowmobile racing without warning, but a win's a win.