X Games 2022 Snowboarding - What to Look Out ForPublished on 07/15/2022 · 8 min readThe 2022 Winter X Games are here! Snowboard Expert Shane Holt overviews the riders to look out for, the events you just must see, and when to watch!
The Winter X Games are back in full force as Aspen begins the final preparations for the 26th year of this legendary event! With spectators returning this year, the stoke levels are high amongst athletes looking forward to having a huge crowd cheer them on once again.
Anyone within striking distance of Aspen from January 20th through the 23rd can go check out the action on the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain. Entry to the event is free, and it’s guaranteed to be highly entertaining with riders going for broke in front of spectators for the first time in over a year. For the rest of us who will be watching from home, ESPN will broadcast more than 13 hours of coverage throughout the weekend. Grab a beer and some snacks, then settle in to watch your favorite riders one-up each other by tossing some of the biggest spins ever laid down on the slopes!
There’s been a lot of drama brewing in the 2022 X Games with several gold medalists taking a break so they can compete in the Olympics, so this year should be an exciting one to watch.
Last year we saw Jamie Anderson absolutely DOMINATE the women’s Slopestyle and Big Air competitions. Chloe Kim ripped the competition to shreds on the SuperPipe (as she always does), while up-and-comers Maddie Mastro and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott nipped at their heels with rugged determination.
On the men’s side, 17-year-old Dusty Henricksen dropped hammers and scooped gold in the coveted Slopestyle event, while Mons Røisland announced his presence by medaling in two separate events. Mark McMorris and Marcus Kleveland are back in action this year with the intention of upping their respective medal counts. It’s going to be an epic battle of heavy hitters in every event this year!
Who to Look Out For
This year’s most anticipated event is the Knuckle Huck—last year’s fan favorite. Riders use the landing zone of the Big Air course to launch themselves from the knuckle of the jump into the air as the steep landing transition falls away below.
Last year, Dusty Henricksen showed an amazing amount of creativity with a fakie pop underflip that added another gold medal to his neck. Now, at only 18 years old, Dusty is showing that a young gun could sweep the podium while leaving the veterans slack-jawed in disbelief.
Dusty’s competition is hungry and looking to unseat the reigning champ. Nitro Snowboard’s Marcus Kleveland is back in the event and has the prowess to throw some NBD (Never Been Done) tricks to wow the crowds and judges. Narrowly missing victory in this event last year, Kleveland is eager to be back on the podium.
Last but not least is Zeb Powell. The ThirtyTwo team rider is widely considered one of the most exciting riders of the moment. Zeb is guaranteed to throw down some maneuvers that no one else has even thought of—let alone dreamed of attempting. He oozes style and is poised to deliver an impressive performance in his first X Games Knuckle Huck competition.
Last year’s silver medalist, Maddie Mastro, will surely be the one to watch. Mastro has emerged as a true progression leader in the SuperPipe and will be a standout for years to come. Look for her to land a Double Crippler this year (it would be the first time in X Games history). Rumor has it, she started landing Double Cork Frontside 1080s earlier in the season. If Maddie can stay on her feet throughout her entire run and stick those new tricks, it’s hard to imagine any of the other competitors being able to put together a higher-scoring run.
In another exciting lineup announcement, venerated X Games champion Jamie Anderson, has decided to compete in SuperPipe this year. After earning 19 X Games medals and dominating the competition for the past 15 years, Anderson wants more gold! It's doubtful that her SuperPipe skills are equivalent to her Big Air prowess, but it’ll be exciting to see if she can pull off a sweep of the entire event.
The other big news in Women’s SuperPipe is the rider who’s not competing: Chloe Kim. The Olympic Gold Medalist and six-time X Games champ is foregoing the contest this year as she prepares to lead Team USA to victory in Beijing.
The Men’s SuperPipe is chock-full of American riders this year, as many international riders are putting the X Games on hold to focus on the Olympics. Several members of Team USA are using the X Games as an Olympic warmup, and SuperPipe promises to be one of the most exciting events on the schedule.
Last year’s winner, Yuto Totsuka, along with his bronze-medal teammate, Ruka Hirano, will pause their Winter X efforts this year to represent Japan in Bejing. Ayumu Hirano returns, hoping to pick up where his younger brother left off and add to his already impressive medal count.
Chase Blackwell, Joey Okesson, Lucas Foster, Chase Josey, and Ryan Wachendorfer fill out the field for the American contingent. This group of perennial X Games medalists all have the skills to place. We’ll just have to see who can ride consistently and stay on their feet while tossing together a string of spin combinations that most of us won’t be able to count.
There will be no room for error, especially for last year’s silver medalist, Scotty James. The Australian has redemption on his mind after placing second in last year’s SuperPipe. Having won three golds previously, Scotty knows it feels better to be on top of the podium. With a solid bag of triple corks and the ability to throw 1440s at will, the rest of the competitors will need high-difficulty, stand-up runs to have a shot at the title. Fellow Australian Valentino Guseli would love to back James up on the podium, but any one of these riders could potentially pull off the victory.
Women’s Slopestyle & Big Air
Competitors in the women’s division will have their work cut out for them with Jamie Anderson intent on keeping her stranglehold on the podium. Scooping two golds last year apparently wasn’t enough! She’s going for three this year by defending her titles in Slopestyle and Big Air but also adding SuperPipe to the mix.
Up-and-comers Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Laurie Blouin, and Miyabi Onitsuka are all looking for redemption this year against the champ. Each of these riders hopes to prevent Anderson from putting her gold medal count into the double digits. They want their own golds but will have to unseat the queen to get there—they have their work cut out for them! Could this be the year that the new generation pries the gold from Anderson, or will we see the queen further cement her undeniable dominance?
The Men’s Slopestyle roster is absolutely packed with big-name talent! Dusty Hendricksen took the win last year but now has to face the likes of Mark McMorris, Red Gerard, and Marcus Kleveland. Can he keep his cool with legends like that breathing down his neck? It’s going to be a battle of the young guns vs. the fellas with enough gold around their necks to make Mr. T jealous.
Last year’s silver and bronze medalists, Mons Røisland and Rene Rinnekangas will still be shooting for the podium. They want to join Dusty Hendricksen in proving that they are the future of snowboarding.
Of course, Mark McMorris doesn’t like to—nor does he often—lose. Can the young guns step up enough to knock him off? Or will snowboarding’s leading man scoop all the gold?
Men’s Big Air
As always, a lot of names on the Big Air roster match the ones on the Slopestyle course. The biggest names in snowboarding duke it out in prime time under the lights, in what promises to be the most popular event of Winter X. Marcus Kleveland will defend last year’s gold against the same heavy hitters he faces in Slopestyle. Silver medalist Sven Thorgren was tossing down quad-cork 1800s last year and still only got second place! The tricks this year will have to be even more insane to earn a medal. With Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris back in the event, it’s sure to be a slugfest.
To know what to look out for in skiing, follow along here!
Snowboarding Schedule and Events
All events in Mountain Standard Time (MST).
Thursday, January 20th
- Opening ceremonies & Belly Up Aspen Party
Friday, January 21st
- 10:30 am: Women's Snowboard Slopestyle
- 6:00 pm: Snowboard Knuckle Huck
- 8:35 pm: Men's Snowboard SuperPipe
Saturday, January 22nd
- 12:00 pm: Men's Snowboard Slopestyle
- 1:45 pm: Women's Snowboard Big Air
- 5:00 pm: Women's Snowboard SuperPipe
- 8:00 PM: Men's Snowboard Big Air
Sunday, January 23rd
- Ski finals in Slopestyle, Knuckle Huck, and Big Air
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re tuning in for a single event or watching all weekend, the 2022 Winter X Games is guaranteed to keep you entertained. With veterans such as Jamie Anderson and Mark McMorris looking to add to their already enormous medal count, drama levels will be high as the next generation of riders flaunts their skills in a bid to take over.
Tune in for our Winter X Games highlight recap after the event where we’ll discuss the winners and the equipment they rode to victory. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about this year’s boards and what gear would be best suited to your riding style, reach out to me & the team of Snowboard Experts here on Curated.