After two qualifying races and ten eliminated racers, a few more laps separated the athletes from their goal.
After twenty laps, Tucker Hibbert took his ninth consecutive gold medal in the snocross event. He beat his nearest competitor by 11 seconds. He says that though he might have a target on his back, he is still focusing on himself.
“For me, I don’t worry about that too much," said Hibbert. "It’s about each race. Last year was last year. Last race was last race. It’s about what’s in front of me, and what I can do to be prepared to do the best I can in each race.”
Hibbert is sticking to those words. He is headed to New York state in the coming days to continue his racing season. He is about half way through his races for the year.
Later in the evening, some of the world’s top halfpipe skiers hit the SuperPipe for the final event. This year, there was no qualifier. Twelve skiers would compete for gold.
Local athlete Alex Ferreira held the third position for most of the competition after three spirited runs. But getting bronze for the third straight year wasn’t meant to be. He would be bumped off the podium.
The pressure was on French skier Kevin Rolland. He fell on his first two trips down the pipe. But as he took the last run, each trick received bigger and bigger applause.
When his final score of 93.3 was announced the crowd erupted.
Rolland finished first, while his countryman Benoit Valentin finished third. Gus Kenworthy finished in second.
Rolland says after not getting gold for five years, his focus went from just placing, to taking the top prize.
“I really wanted to win," said Rolland. "That was my goal. I didn’t want to get medals. I wanted to win. I did that, and I’m really happy about it. It’s an improvement so I’m so stoked.”
Aspen athletes didn’t make the podium this year. Alex Ferreira and Torin Yater-Wallace finished fourth and fifth.