X Games Superpipe: Truckee’s Danny Davis golden again in Aspen (w/ video)
ASPEN, Colo. — Truckee’s Danny Davis and the rising stars of snowboarding crashed Shaun White’s party Thursday night at the Winter X Games.
White, the snowboarding legend who’s won more X Games gold medals than any other athlete, made a much-heralded return to the superpipe at Buttermilk this year before a large and lively crowd.
The 28-year-old skateboarder-turned-snowboarder rode the crowd’s momentum into a possible medal position — third place — with only one snowboarder left to compete.
But in a scenario that White had followed numerous times in winning 15 gold medals in Aspen, Davis came from behind to win his second consecutive Winter X Games gold in the Men’s Snowboard Superpipe.
In the process, Davis, the 26-year-old Michigan native who now resides in Truckee, knocked White off the podium, relegating the snowboarding superstar to fourth place.
“This is very unexpected,” Davis said in the finish area Thursday night. “I had a lot of fun in there tonight.”
Then, as is his custom, Davis thanked the crowd that turned out to push the best boarders in the world to new limits.
“I want to thank everybody who came out,” said Davis, who is 2-for-2 in Men’s Snowboard Superpipe in Aspen. His final-run score was 93.66 — golden.
Davis became the second Truckee-Tahoe local to win gold this year in Aspen. South Lake Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman easily won her third consecutive gold Wednesday in the Women’s Ski SuperPipe.
READ MORE: South Lake Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman is the undisputed ski queen of the halfpipe. Her first-run score of 85.00 Wednesday ended up winning the competition.
Nineteen-year-old Taku Hiraoka of Japan won silver. He posted a dynamic 92.33 on his third and last run in the event finals.
He took over the lead and gave Japan a chance to win its first Winter X gold medal.
But Davis denied the high-flying Hiraoka, who launched more than 19 feet out of the halfpipe, in the quest for gold.
Olympic gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov finished third with his high score of 89.00 from his first run.
The snowboarder known as “I-Pod” pushed on his final run. But a late bobble left him in third place.
White, who struggled on his first run in Thursday’s finals, bounced back in the second run with a crowd-pleasing 82.00. After missing last year’s X Games to train for the Winter Olympics, White returned to Aspen this year, but his third run failed to produce a higher score.
“It was a really good contest,” Davis said. “When you end up on top in a contest like that, you feel like you’ve accomplished something.”
READ MORE: A year ago, the Sierra Sun interviewed Davis prior to his trip to Sochi, Russia, to represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Davis, who has risen to the top with his trademark switch (riding backward) tricks, said he changed his routine on each of his five runs Thursday.
“You improvise; you snowboard,” he said. “I’m happy today was my day.”
Podladtchikov said the quality of the competition made for great snowboarding in the halfpipe Thursday.
“It was such a high level (of competition),” he said. “Danny’s combos, … he was changing his run every single run. You don’t see that very often.”
A record Thursday crowd of 16,300, according to ESPN, turned out at Buttermilk.
— Dale Strode is sports editor for The Aspen Times, a sister paper of the Sierra Sun. Sun Managing Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.