In tough conditions and a total free-for-all race, Scott Gaffney and Line Oestvold took this year’s Boarder X at the 2001 ESPN Winter X Games at Mount Snow, Vermont. To get to the final podium, both had to survive through several rounds of carnage that left one competitor in a stretcher and several others singing the agony of defeat. It was definitely a race of wax and goggles, as the conditions changed from sunny to snowing and back again by the minute.
In both men’s semi-finals, crashes determined the winners. Palmer was out to an early lead and looking strong to make the finals when teammate Matt Shrive bumped him from behind and took him out.
In the other semi final, last year’s winner Drew Neilson was taken out and also relegated to the consolation round.
Gaffney took the hole shot for the men’s final and led the pack the whole way down. He was followed by Mark Schulz, Seth Wescott, Rob Fagan, Harald Putz, and hometown favorite Jason Evans.
“It was stacked like every other heat today, but luckily I got the hole shot and was able to hold on,” said Gaffney. “The two middle gates were key and then getting a good pull. The course was fun and flowed.”
Says he’s going to pay off his car with the 12,000 dollars.
Schulz had a view from behind the whole way down and described the final run like this: “We pulled out, there was a little bumping and grinding and sliding around. It was really slippery. Gaffney got the lead, I got behind him, and I thought I was going to catch him. I pointed it straight to see what would happen and he pointed it straight to. That’s what happens.”
The women’s final was totally stacked with Oestvold, Erin Simmons, Amy Johnson, Maelle Ricker, Mayumi Fukuda, and Megan Pischke. It was truly anyone’s race as all have been on podiums before.
Simmons had been involved in an incredible pile-up on the second to last jump in the first semi final. She was leading the race when Leslee Olson took a high line over a corner hit, passed her in the air, landed in front of her and then wiped out. Simmons ran right into Olson, sommersaulted over her and then popped up to finish the semi in second place. Olson was taken away in a sled by the ski patrol, but was moving and seemed to be okay.
For the final, it was racing knowledge that paid off for the winner. “I used a little experience and just went for it,” said Norway’s Oestvold. “The course was hard and the conditions changed during the day and made it really hard.”
She was lucky to even make the finals. Oestvold had a dramatic come-from-behind third-place finish in her first quarterfinal that enabled her to continue through to the first-place podium. To celebrate, she was bailing out of Mount Snow to go freeriding in Tahoe and take a well-needed break.
1. Scott Gaffney
2. Mark Schulz
3. Seth Wescott
4. Rob Fagan
5. Harald Putz,
6. Jason Evans
1. Line Oestvold
2. Erin Simmons
3. Amy Johnson
4. Maelle Ricker
5. Mayumi Fukuda
6. Megan Pischke.