Heading into Saturday’s X Games ski slopestyle finals, two-time gold medalist Nick Goepper was prepared to watch from the finish corral. He had missed the top-eight qualifying spots Thursday.
But Canadian Alex Beaulieu-Marchand bowed out Saturday morning because of an injury and Goepper made the most of his last-minute ticket, punching it for a three-peat slopestyle gold, a first since Tanner Hall’s 2002-04 reign.
“I just feel like I got a gift here today to get into finals, and I didn’t want to waste it,” said the 20-year-old from Indiana.
He didn’t waste any time either, stomping a wildly technical run on his first time down the course’s three rail sections and three jumps. Spinning, grabbing and flipping, Goepper’s leftside triple cork 1440, spun in his least comfortable direction, earned a 93.66 that lasted through all three runs by the eight finalists. Last year Goepper won gold with 95 points.
“The last couple days have been pretty stressful,” said Goepper of his wait while Beaulieu-Marchand weighed his ability to ski in the finals.