Clark’s reign continues |

Clark’s reign continues

Michael Applegate
The Aspen Times
Special to the Daily/Jason Connolly

Two years ago, it was Kelly Clark who landed the first 1080 in women’s snowboard superpipe history.

On Saturday night at Buttermilk, Elena Hight pushed the sport even farther.

But that wasn’t enough to unseat the undisputed queen of the superpipe.

Clark grabbed her third straight gold medal on her final run to beat Hight’s first run mark of 90 by 0.33. The 29 year-old from West Dover, Vt., had to produce a better run than Hight’s that included the sport’s first ever double backside alley-oop rodeo.

Clark’s run contained a notably higher amplitude than Hight, which proved to earn the judges’ favor.

“I definitely tried to maintain my amplitude the whole time, trying the most technical trick on my first hit and trying to link everything together,” Clark said. “The level of snowboarding tonight was at an all-time high. I’m proud to be on top of this podium.”

Hight began the night landing her only run of the day: a backside 900, a frontside 720 Japan, a cab 720, a frontside 540, a backside method and the double backside alley-oop rodeo.

“I’ve been thinking about doing the double since I landed it last May,” Hight said. “That’s what I came out here to do. I landed my run and I’m beyond excited.”

Afterward, Clark fell on her last jump, but she nailed her second run, but it only produced a mark of 87.33.

Hight couldn’t land the backside double cork again in her final two runs, opening the door for Clark in her third and final run of the night.

Clark landed her final trick a bit lower than desired, and a few tense moments pasted with the judges deliberating.

The judges awarded the run a gold medal by the slimmest of margins.

Arielle Gold, a 16 year-old from Steamboat Springs, posted an 85 in her second run that ended up being good enough for bronze. Gold took Snowmass Village’s Getchen Bleiler’s spot after she dropped out of the competition Wednesday evening. This was Gold’s first appearance at the Winter X games.

“This is huge, I can’t believe this is happening,” Gold said.

Since her first medal in the X Games in 2004, Clark has missed the podium just twice.

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