ASPEN — Nothing comes easily in the double pipe.
Riders had to bury survival instincts as they floated from pipe to pipe. New skills were developed as they spun between the parallel ditches. Fear had to be shirked. The unknown was delved, one trick at a time.
“I’ve never done anything like it. It was hard to adjust,” said Steamboat Springs’ Taylor Gold, the 20-year-old Olympian who won the Burton U.S. Open this month and Sunday, March 23 took home the $25,000 first prize at the first-ever Red Bull Double Pipe contest at Aspen’s X Games venue.
Gold struggled through three days of practice. It just wasn’t clicking. Saturday night — after the semifinals were pushed to Sunday because of heavy snow — he figured out a potential run that merged his frenzied double corks and technical grabs with floating transitions over the 4-foot spine down the middle of the pair of pipes.
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