Watch: Breckenridge’s Jaxin Hoerter realizes X Games Aspen dream
Halfpipe skier lands three of four runs, doesn’t qualify through
ASPEN — Under the bright lights at Buttermilk Ski Area on Friday, Breckenridge’s Jaxin Hoerter achieved a childhood dream by cleanly landing three of his four runs in the X Games Aspen superpipe.
At his first X Games Aspen competition, Hoerter finished in 10th place of 12 skiers in the men’s ski superpipe elimination round. The result was not indicative of Hoerter’s success on the night though. Amid a loaded field of talented freeskiers Hoerter performed well for most of the night in the 50-minute jam format, where skiers dropped in one after another and were re-ranked after each ski through the pipe.
In the end, Hoerter’s backcountry buddy, Birk Irving of Winter Park, went through in the top spot, followed by Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte, Noah Bowman of Canada, Brendan MacKay of Canada and Lyman Currier of Boulder. That group will be joined by automatic qualifiers Alex Ferreira of Aspen, David Wise of Nevada and Nico Porteous of New Zealand.
“The pipe was really good, so it was definitely awesome,” Hoerter said after the competition. “It was insane to see this big of a crowd in the states, because everyone watches everything online and on TV. So it had like the European vibe where it’s a massive crowd. It definitely got you stoked up to go big and try your best. I had a little bobble on my third run, but overall I had a good time landing three out of four, so it was a good time.”
For Hoerter, on his first drop into an X Games competition pipe, the 19-year-old Breckenridge born-and-raised native linked a 1080-degree rotation and 720 high up on the pipe to set up his signature double-grab trick.
On that third hit, Hoerter grabbed both noses of his skis, a trick called a truck-driver grab. It came on a 720-degree rotation trick that he rode into switch, or backward.
Further down the pipe, Hoerter landed a double flair with a tail grab, which is two backflips paired with 180-degree rotations. He then landed a double alley-oop flat-spin with a Japan grab on his final hit to start strong. The run initially put him in second place, though he ended in seventh after the first round of runs.
Hoerter dropped in for his second run with 32 minutes left in the 50-minute jam format. On the run, Hoerter opted for a 13-foot-high double flair with a tail grab out of the pipe on his first hit. He followed that up with back-to-back 900s before landing a rightside 720 and leftside 720 to round out his run.
With 22 minutes left in the competition, Hoerter on his third run was unable to land a switch double-cork on his third hit about halfway through the pipe, keeping him outside of qualifying position
With nine minutes left in the jam, Hoerter began his run with a flat-spin 900 with a truck-driver grab that he launched 10-and-a-half feet out of the pipe. He then sent a set-up trick, a 720, nearly eight feet out of the pipe. Hoerter landed the 720 switch, meaning he rode backward to the other side of the pipe for his third hit. On that attempt, Hoerter landed an alley oop after riding in backward before launching a 900 nearly 13 feet out of the pipe.
The seamless speed of that 900 landing propelled Hoerter into one of his trademark tricks: a laid-out twice inverted double flair. Hoerter sent that trick 12-and-a-half feet out of the pipe.
Hoerter put the exclamation point on this final run with an alley-oop double flat-spin, which he sent nearly 10 feet out of the pipe.
In total, Hoerter laced six hits through the pipe on that last run, averaging 10 feet of amplitude above the pipe walls and finishing with back-to-back double-flip tricks. Looking back uphill after the run, Hoerter could do nothing but smile.
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