Cana­di­ans fuel ski­cross’ re­turn to Aspen’s games

Serwa claims women’s gold, while Le­man tops podium on men’s side

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Ja­son Blevins

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, jblevins@den­ver­post.com 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

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