X Games slopestyle: Goepper goes for three-peat, Breck’s Herman takes second | SummitDaily.com

X Games slopestyle: Goepper goes for three-peat, Breck’s Herman takes second

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Nick Goepper knows what to do with a second chance.

He used his second chance to win a third consecutive gold medal in Men's Ski Slopestyle at the Winter X Games at Buttermilk.

Goepper nearly missed his chance at a three-peat when he finished ninth in the slopestyle qualifying event two days ago.

But with qualifier Alex Beaulieu-Marchand forced out of the finals because of injury, Goepper, 20, was added to the eight-rider field for Saturday morning's finals.

He promptly used the first jump in the competition to secure his third consecutive gold when he posted a crowd-pleasing 93.66 – a number that held through all three rounds of the finals.

Goepper, the Olympic bronze medalist at Sochi, is the first skier to win three consecutive slopestyle golds at the Winter X Games since Tanner Hall in 2002, 2003 and 2004,

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Olympic gold medalist Joss Christensen of Park City, Utah, won the silver medal with his high score of 90.66.

The bronze medal for the 2015 Winter X Games went to 21-year-old Alex Bellemare of Canada, who collected his first Winter X medal.

Breckenridge Olympian Bobby Brown took fourth place, just missing the podium.

"I felt like I got a gift, and I didn't want to waste it," Goepper said of his second chance at the 2015 Winter X Games.

"The last two days, I didn't know if I was in the finals or not," he added. "I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst."

His best was good for another gold.

Goepper said he had targeted a third consecutive win in Aspen, knowing he would face the toughest field of skiers in the world.

"A lot of hard work and dedication … I trained as hard as possible. But you also have to have fun," said Goepper, who is from Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

"The X Games for us is the biggest event," said silver-medalist Christensen. "This event has made our sport what it is today."

He, like Goepper, said the secret to their success during the runs in the halfpipe is music.

"The music is key," said Goepper, who listened to Blink 182 on his gold-medal run Saturday.

Women's Ski Slopestyle

Sweden's Emma Dahlstrom held off Breckenridge's Keri Herman to take gold in the Women's Ski Slopestyle on Friday afternoon at Buttermilk.

"I think it was in the rails that I got some extra points," Dahlstrom, 22, said after her gold-medal performance. "I'm so happy to land a run that good."

Herman, 32, dazzled the big crowd at the base of Buttermilk when she uncorked an 86.66 run on her second of three passes through the slopestyle course.

Clad in brilliant red, the Sochi veteran charged into the third run in hopes of topping Dahlstrom's high score of 90.33.

But the Breckenridge freeskier tumbled off a rail feature on her final run and fell hard onto the snow.

After regaining her composure, Herman got up and skied down to collect her X Games silver medal, her third silver in the event in Aspen. She also recently finished first on her home turf at the Dew Tour in December.

Following her podium apearance, Herman was taken offsite for medical treatment. She was unable to attend the press conference for the medalists.

Third-place Saturday went to Olympic gold medalist Dara Howell of Canada (82.00). The 20-year-old won her third bronze medal in the Winter X Games in Aspen.

Defending gold medalist Kaya Turski handed out the medals Saturday. She was unable to compete this year after undergoing knee and shoulder surgery.

Turski, also from Canada, is an eight-time gold medalist in Women's Ski Slopestyle in Aspen.

Dahlstrom said that she really liked the rails at the start of the slopestyle course, which measured 1,700 feet in length with a 290-foot vertical drop.

"I really liked the rails. They were really good and technical," she said. "And the jumps have never been better."

Dahlstrom said she got into the sport by watching the X Games on television when she was a youngster.

"I've never had a better run in my life," she said.

dstrode@aspentimes.com