X Games 2013 Tignes – Women’s Halfpipe Finals – Live Blog

Arielle Gold, the new kid on the block. Could she topple reigning queen Kelly Clark tonight? – Photo: Red Bull.


1. Kelly Clark

2. Elena Hight

3. Arielle Gold

21.48 – So that’s it. Kelly Clark achieves the “three-peat in Teen-ya” on top of three-in-a-row at the Aspen X Games. At $30,000 a pop, it’s a safe bet she’ll be making a generous donation in church next Sunday. Or buying a new bowling ball. Still haven’t made my mind up on that sticker. Catch us tomorrow for more live yibble on the men’s pipe final.

21.42 – So Kelly Clark gets the luxury of a lap of honour. Huge straight airs all the way down. And why the hell not?

21.41 – In a word, no. But it’s a damned fine effort. Back to back 720’s and 900’s see her boost her score to 85.00 and sneak into silver.

21.40 – Elena is the only girl left who can shake up the podium. Will she do it??

21.38 – Arielle Gold is one of the few riders with a chance to topple Clark. She starts solidly with some technical spins but dabs the wall on the last hit and can’t improve on her best score. She’s still in 2nd though – not a bad night’s work.

21.36 – Kaityln starts off with another nice 9 but lands awkwardly on her heels and can’t quite recover it. She’s currently in 7th, looking to avoid the wooden spoon.

21.35 – Huge crippler from Gretchen on her first hit. A good 8 feet out and super sick. The rest of her run is solid too, until the last hit when she sits down. Arse. Literally. Still, Gretchen will be stoked to have held her own tonight – she’s coming back from a serious injury.

21.33 – Ellery Hollingsworth also fades just as things were looking good. She’s still in 5th, so no podium for her tonight.

21.30 – Hannah Teter gives it a good go – her opening 900 has to be the best in the game. She lands flat halfway down her run and shows incredible strength to power through, but another scrape on the last hit means the best she can hope for is 3rd.

21.28 – It’s fair to say Maddy Schaffrick isn’t having her best ever night. She falls again on her frontside 7 so won’t improve on her current position.

21.26 – 2 down, 1 to go. We’re all set for the final run in this women’s halfpipe final.

21.25 – Just noticed the Jesus sticker on Kelly’s board. Presumably she doesn’t mean this guy?

21.21 – Wow, she’s human after all. Kelly takes a big slam on her opening 1080 and her run is over before it really began. A small chink in the armour, but a chink nonetheless.

21.19 – Elena Hight over-rotates towards the end of her run and can’t improve. Things are definitely looking rosy for Kelly Clark, who’s up next.

21.15 – Arielle Gold: Method, 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton presumably going thru her head) another 5 and another 9. Sick. And she’s still just 16 years old. An 83 from the judges moves her into provisional 2nd. Can anyone pull something out the bag to topple Kelly?

21.14 – Aaaand, we’re back in Teen-ya, where Kaitlyn Farrington is hoping to improve on her first run of 59.66. Things start well with back-to-back 9’s and a 540, but she eats the wall on her last hit and it’s all over. Pressure’s on for Kaitlyn’s final run.

21.08 – The commentary from the yanks just keeps getting better. Kelly Clark is “going for a three-peat” apparently, “here in Teen-ya”. Yeah, he means Tignes. Ad break. Bliss.

21.06 – According to the commentator, Gretchen is 31 years old but still looks like she’s 18. Brown nose. Anyhoo, she loses her speed landing the first hit and her momentum is gone. Bummer.

21.04 – Ellery is forced to bail midway through her second run. Shame. No seriously, SHAME ON YOU! Only kidding :)

21.03 – Hannah Teter sets the tone with a biiiig front 9 on the first hit, really sick. The rest of her run is solid too – and she’s moved into provisional 2nd with an 80.66.

21.01 – Schaffrick puts down a cleaner run this time, including a nice stalefish that looked even better in slow mo – check the no glove steez! 60.33. Pas mal.

20.58 – So after the first of three runs in the final it’s 1. Kelly Clark 2. Arielle Gold. Hannah Teter 3.

20.52 – Kelly Clark casts a huge shadow over women’s halfpipe. Literally. She drops in and boosts straight into a 1080, following it up with a 7. It’s leagues ahead of the rest and the score reflects it. 87 from the judges. Job done. See you on the podium.

20.50 – The next of our American friends is Elena Hight. Her first backside air is sizeable, but the rest of her run isn’t quite up to scratch and she moves into provisional 4th with a 61.66.

20.48 – GOLD! Always believe in your souuuuuul! Sorry, couldn’t resist. So Arielle Gold drops in with a backside air, back-to-back 5’s, back-to-back 7’s and a stalefish. Nice. She’s definitely one to watch – she just beat Kelly Clark in the BEO doncha know. In similar snowy conditions too. Boom! 76.00.

20.42 – Kaitlyn Farrington. She’s from – wait for it – America. Wearing bib number 186 the Gnu rider from Sun Valley, Idaho (guess who’s got a handy copy of the start list on their desk?) lays down back-to-back 9’s as part of a super technical run. Hands down on the final hit and some less than orbital amplitude penalise her slightly and she’s awarded 59.66, putting her in third place as things stand.

20.37 – Gretchen Bleiler, one of snowboarding’s infamous pin-ups, shows she’s not just a pretty face with a monster invert to kick things off. Unfortunately the rest of the run gets ugly.

20.35 – Ellery Hollingsworth replies with a method to fs air, then back 5, front 7, cab 5, with a tasty stalefish to end. It’s good enough for 55.00.

20.33 – Hannah Teter (of Olympic and First Descent fame) is up next. She kicks things off with a woppercock frontside 9 but loses momentum later in her run to post a respectable 71.00

20.32 – Maddy gets things underway with a cheeky method on the first hit, straight into a 7. She falls further down though, so it’s a low score. 30.00

20.31 – First to drop is American Maddy Schaffrick. Get used to that people – every single competitor in tonight’s final is a seppo (septic tank, yank)

20.28 – It’s positively puking as practice wraps up and we await the start of the women’s final. Hope the riders can see better than we can!

Barring a disaster (ie. she stacks in all her runs), it’s gonna be Kelly really isn’t it? We’d like to think Arielle Gold and Elena Hight stand a chance against her though. Especially if Elena puts down that double. Realistically though, Kelly 1st, Elena 2nd, Arielle 3rd. But let’s see shall we?

1. Maddy Shaffrick
2. Hannah Teter
3. Ellery Hollingsworth
4. Gretchen Bleiler
5. Kaitlyn Farrington
6. Arielle Gold
7. Elena Hight
8. Kelly Clark

This event may be known as the X Games Europe, but that hasn’t stopped the organisers from lining up and all-American field for the women’s pipe. Yup, all eight of the invited riders are from the land of the free and the home of the brave.

What the cheese-eating surrender monkeys who make up most of the crowd here in France will make of the lack of a local hero to cheer for is anyone’s guess. But in fairness, you can’t say they haven’t made their selections based on merit.

The line-up includes the unstoppable juggernaut of winning-ness that is Kelly Clark, who has once again dominated competitive pipe riding this year. She recently won something like her 60th career title. No other man or woman has ever come close to those kind of figures.

But stats are no guarantee of success, and probability can make you its bitch in the blink of an eye – or the glint of a caught edge. So tonight’s result is far from a foregone conclusion.

Especially when you have Elena Hight (still the only woman to nail a pipe double cork in competition), multiple X Games medallist Gretchen Bleiler and Olympic gold medallist Hannah Teter competing.

Special mention must also be made of Arielle Gold, who in her rookie season has podiumed more times than most riders in their whole careers. She’s our top tip for an outside winner tonight, if you can find anyone to give you the odds.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Tignes (or, if you’re American Teen-yah, France) where we’re watching the X Games Tignes 2013 women’s halfpipe finals.

Actually that’s a lie, we’re not quite watching it yet. But we will be once it all kicks off at 8.30pm local time (7.30pm UK time), and we’ll be bringing you live, run-by-run updates of what goes down.

If you’re unable to watch the live stream, this is your ticket to following what’s up. And if you are watching the live-blog, please join in the discussion here.

Our comments section is open to pretty much whatever abuse you might want to throw at us (within reason). And we’ll be keeping an eye on Twitter too, incorporating the best comments and tweets tagged #XGamesNow into our coverage.


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