Canadians fuel skicross’ return to Aspen’s games
Serwa claims women’s gold, while Leman tops podium on men’s side
aspen » The international gladiators are back at X and back on U.S. soil.
After a four-year absence, skicross racing returned to Aspen’s X Games on Saturday. In one of the heaviest international skicross contests in the States since 2012, the Canadians dominated.
Taking four of the men’s andwomen’s podiums— including both golds— the Canadian skicross team fueled the sport’s celebrated return to Aspen.
Canada’sKelsey Serwa, whowon silver in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, took women’s gold, followed by her Canadian teammate Marielle Thompson, who ranks at the top of theWorld Cup leaderboard this season. France’s Alizee Baron took bronze.
Canadian Olympian Brady Leman took men’s gold after leading through every qualifying race.
“X Games started our sport. Without the X Games, we wouldn’t have an Olympics and we wouldn’t have a World Cup,” said Leman, who ranks second on the skicross World Cup leaderboard this season with four podiums in the first seven races in Italy, France and Austria. “It’s big for us to get Competition on the final day of the 2016 AspenWinter X Games at Buttermilk Mountain: 10 a.m.: Men’s ski slopestyle final 10 a.m.: Snowboarder adaptive X semifinals and final Noon: Men’s and women’s snowboarder heats, semifinals and finals 1:45 p.m.: Women’s snowboard superpipe final back here and compete in an event that launched our sport into the Olympics. This needed to happen.”
Skicross exploded onto the X Games scene in 1998 — a year after boardercross — with crowd-thrilling contests that pitted six racers jostling through a narrowcourse of jumps and berms in a series of heats. The sport debuted in the 2010Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In 2012, the X Games cut boardercross and skicross from the Aspen lineup.
The 2013 X Games was the first without any cross athletes since the X Games debuted in 1997.
Vail’s Chris Del Bosco, who won his secondXGames skicross gold in 2012, took his second X Games bronze with a brazen airborne pass mere meters above the finish line. In qualifying and semifinal heats, Del Bosco, who has dual citizenship and races for Canada, carved dramatic inside lines to pass opponents and advance to the next round. In the final, he pushed from fifth to third, pumping hard over the rolling terrain.
“It’s nice to have a track that allows some passing,” he said.
Del Bosco returned to Vail last summer after spending the past few years in Montreal. He trained with coaches from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and rode his bike “a ton,” he said.
“I came into this season strong,” said Del Bosco, who ranks third on the World Cup leaderboard with two podium finishes in November and December.
France’s Bastien Midol, whose brother, Jonathan, took bronze in the Sochi Olympics as part of a French sweep, took silver in his first Aspen X Games. Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jasonblevins
From left, Bastien Midol, Alex Fiva, Thomas Zangerl, Chris Del Bosco and Jonas Lenherr compete Saturday in the men skicross final. Brady Leman of Canada won the race, with Midol second and Del Bosco third. Daniel Petty, The Denver Post