Norway’s young snowboarding star Silje Norendal has just grabbed her first X Games gold with a near flawless run in the women’s slopestyle.
Taking place under blue skies, the contest saw eight of the world’s best freestylers go head-to-head in what would prove to be one of the most exciting events of this or any snowboard gathering.
While previous winner Jenny Jones was only on standby following her year away from competition, the rest of the field read like a who’s who of female shred talent, including Spencer O’Brien, Kjersti Buaas, Aimee Fuller and two-times X Games gold medallist Jamie Anderson.
Form and experience made Californian Anderson the obvious favourite, and she showed signs of her intentions during the warm-up, casually throwing down a series of 5’s and 7’s and looking supremely relaxed under the media spotlight.
Nevertheless, dropping in just second it was Silje who set the early benchmark, bossing the rails on the top section before launching into a kicker run combining a cab 720, switch backside 540 and super stylish frontside rodeo 720 to post a daunting score of 90.00.
No one who followed could get close to her – even Anderson could only manage an 85.66 – and in the second heat Sije upped the ante again, laying down an even cleaner version of her run to land a 93.00. One by one the rest of the field stepped up, and one by one they fell short.
Kjersti Buaas showed some trademark swagger over the kickers, landing super deep on the run-outs and moving into third place with her final run; meanwhile the UK’s Aimee Fuller got the biggest cheer of the day from the crowds lined up on the piste when she stomped the first ever double backflip in women’s competition. In the end, however, this was to be Silje’s day.
As it sunk in that she’d won and she was embraced by her mum, the 19 year-old Norwegian broke into tears. Her stunning looks have already helped her gain plenty of media attention in her short career, but with this performance she had proved to the world that she’s got the skills to match.
Check out the video of her winning runs here.