The fifth year of X Games Norway kicked off today on the slopes of Hafjell Alpinsenter, just 15 minutes from Lillehammer, with Ski and Snowboard Big Air and, for the first time at X Games Norway, Knuckle Huck. In addition to an action-packed day of sports, musical performances from Alan Walker, Musti, Chris Abolade and Arif also took place right on the mountain.
Norweigian competitors fared well in the ski disciplines today, with Johanne Killi taking bronze in Women’s Big Air and Birk Ruud taking silver in Men’s Big Air. Ruud was a favorite going into the competition — he won the discipline at Norway 2018 and Aspen 2019 before taking silver at Aspen 2020. Killi also became the most decorated Norweigian at X Games, with seven medals in 12 starts. Snowboard Knuckle Huck featured a fully Norwegian field, with local favorite Marcus Kleveland from Dombas taking the top spot in the first-ever Norwegian edition of the discipline. Three Norweigians missed the podium in Men’s Snowboard Big Air.
In the first competition of the day, Women’s Snowboard Big Air went down to the wire with Austrian Anna Gasser jumping from bronze to gold on the final run of the entire competition. She had locked grabs, the two best 1080s of the competition, spins in 3 different directions and doubles on every attempt. In the end, Gasser’s Cab double cork 1080 Indy on her last run sealed the deal for her to take gold, her third in the discipline. X Games Aspen 2020 gold medalist Miyabi Onitsuka took home her second X Games medal with silver and Canadian Laurie Blouin took bronze.
Next up was Women’s Ski Big Air, where Megan Oldham won gold — her first medal in her second X Games appearance. Oldham landed tricks including a switch leftside 1080 mute grab and a leftside double cork 1260 safety grab. Oldham became the first Canadian to medal in Women’s Ski Big Air, while silver medalist Maggie Voisin, the only other rider to land a double cork 1260 in this competition, marked her best performance yet. Norwegian Johanne Killi took bronze.
In Snowboard Men’s Big Air, Mark McMorris made history by earning his 19th X Games medal, surpassing Shaun White as the most-medaled athlete in winter X Games history. McMorris, hungry to break White’s record since Aspen 2020, took an early lead in the judges’ rankings from Run 1 and proved his dominance with two of the biggest tricks of the competition – a backside 1620 mute and switch backside 1620 melon. Fellow Canadian Max Parrot took it down to the wire, though, adding pressure in the last run of the event before ultimately taking silver. Making an all-Canadian podium, Darcy Sharpe took bronze. All three will compete in the completely stacked Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle tomorrow afternoon.
After being added to the competition only hours before, Frenchman Antoine Adelisse took his first medal with gold in Men’s Ski Big Air, landing every single run. His best tricks included a triple cork 1620 mute grab and a switch triple cork 1440 pregrab nose grab. Adelisse had not competed at X Games since X Games Aspen 2018. Young Norweigian Birk Ruud, the youngest male athlete at X Games Norway 2020, kept his streak of medals going with silver and Swiss rider Andri Ragettli took bronze, his second X Games medal.
Snowboard Knuckle Huck made it’s Norwegian debut with a Norwegian-only field of five riders. Local favorite Marcus Kleveland, who X Games’ Snowboard play-by-play announcer Brandon Graham called “the human cheat code,” took home the inaugural medal with tricks highlighted by a butter 540 to nollie 1080 and a butter Cab 720 to backside 720.
X Games Norway 2020 closed out Saturday night with Ski Knuckle Huck where American Alex Hall took home his third X Games gold medal. Swedish rider Jesper Tjader led for much of the jam session, but Hall landed a switch tail butter double cork 1440 with a safety grab in his final run to jump to the top spot. X Games ski analyst Tom Wallisch called it the most difficult trick of the contest.
Performances from Musti, Chris Abolade and Arif took place in the afternoon before Norweigian musician Alan Walker, who played at the first-ever X Games Norway five years ago, returned to the stage for a performance that included his newest single, “End of Time,” live for the first time ever. Action continues tomorrow in Hafjell, where Snowboard and Ski Slopestyle competitions will close out the weekend.