Photo Report | 2018 Winter X Games | Presented by OTSFF
By Billy Rainford
The 2018 Winter X Games finished up Sunday night in Aspen, Colorado. This is the second time I’ve been to The Games because it’s the second time Snow BikeCross has been an event. Being there when Brock Hoyer won the first Gold Medal in the event in 2017 forced me to arrange my travel to include being there when a Canadian won again in 2018.
As we all know, Canadian #111 Cody Matchechuk took the gold this year, with Brock taking the silver. It was something I just wasn’t going to miss. There were lots of other interesting storylines, so let’s take a look at some photos from a weekend at beautiful Buttermilk Mountain.
Judging from all the screams, Canadian snowboard legend, Mark McMorris, may be the most popular guy on the mountain.
Check out the sweet guitars the athletes on the podium all get, like Snowboard Big Air winner, Anna Gasser.
There’s always all kinds of things going on around the mountain. You just walk around and point your camera…the one that didn’t kick the bucket that day, of course…
Everywhere you looked, industry big wigs were doing something. That’s Kourtney Lloyd and Polaris/Timbersled honcho, Josh Leonard, tailgating.
Let’s first head over to the Snow Bike Big Air comp. That’s Jackson Strong.
Canadian Billy Van Vugt was in attendance.
He wasn’t just another pretty London Ontario face. He was hands on out there.
Let’s assume he’s blocking the sun and not me…
Axell Hodges raced the Snow BikeCross and then hit up the Best Trick Sunday.
Rod Matechuk from RMR Suspensions may have been involved with more medals in Aspen than anyone.
He was responsible for keeping suspension working right, everywhere you looked.
It was sunny and above freezing Sunday. It was perfect.
Over-rotated this backflip a little. He was fine.
If they had a longer track, they weren’t going upside down.
But moves like this are equally as impressive.
Upside down, high above the Aspen valley.
The Captain was in the house.
Canadian Brett Turcotte was going for his 3rd medal.
Results: Rob Adelburg, Jackson Strong, Robert Haslam.
OK, enough Freestyle, let’s see the racing!
“Larry Enticer” couldn’t take two steps without stopping for a selfie. Here he is with Kody Kamm.
One of the biggest stories of the event was the return of the iconic 7C of Blair Morgan in the Adaptive Snow BikeCross races.
Steve Simms was Blair’s right-hand man on race day and throughout the project.
Blair and his 7C were as big a deal as you could find in the early days of the X Games. It was so cool to see them back.
Blair got his first ride on the masterpiece just the day before the races. He had to get the hang of it quickly.
Blair ended up 3rd overall, had a blast, and is keen to be back in 2019.
Nobody was going to touch #19 Doug Henry, though. He didn’t get out to the lead from the start, but made the pass and checked out for the win.
The other huge story was the appearance of Josh Cox…I’m kidding…#2 Ryan Villopoto at the X Games.
Canadian Yanick Boucher ready to go. Our ‘M’ event access really handcuffed us on where we could go. I really wish I could have been inside the fences here to get some better emotional shots. Oh well…
The crowd filed in and we were ready to start the racing.
Allison Kennedy Davies was back at her first Winter X Games since 2001 when they were in Vermont. She was happy to see me, as you can tell.
She was kidding! Allison was there to do a story on Blair for Racer X. Watch for that one in an upcoming edition.
Villopoto qualified 4th fastest as he improved exponentially. He got out to a transfer position in his heat race, but…
…this crash took him out of contention and his day was done.
Josh Cox was Ryan’s mechanic for the weekend and said Ryan had a great time and wants to come back again next year. Uh oh…
#515 Mick Olson missed the final and wound up 13th.
Seth Fischer got in as an alternate and took 12th.
It’s not in focus, but #218 Nathan Bles shows us exactly what Cody Matechuk was talking about in our interview. Between the jumps in the rhythm section were treacherous and would send you off in unexpected directions. He saved this, by the way.
Nathan was hoping for a better result and finished 11th overall. He was in some great battles out there.
I was really impressed with #195 Keaton Ward’s skill through the double-double-double section. He buttered it ever lap and took 10th.
Canadian #53 Yannick Boucher is from Hearst, Ontario. He took 9th in the final.
Jake Scott returned in 2018 and finished 8th.
A very skilled rider, Axell Hodges, couldn’t quite put it all together in the final and finished 7th.
I was impressed with the speed and smoothness of #75 Josh Hill. He hit the downhill section every lap too and finished 6th.
#44 Nolan Heppner was in a tough fight with Hill and Hodges and took 5th at the flag.
#9 Darrin Mees was impressive on Saturday. He and Huber teammate Nathan Bles had their bikes torn apart under suspicion of being “too fast.” That’s a nice compliment. They were fine and Darrin took 4th.
#353 Kody Kamm came over from the Snocross game and rounded out the podium with 3rd in the final.
In his heat race, #2 Brock Hoyer got held up by lapper #68 Dean Hunt for a painful amount of time. We thought a black flag could have been waved.
Brock Had to work his way forward in the final. Making passes was tricky and he made his way up to second.
Brock crossed the line for a silver medal and celebrated with a heel clicker.
You ever had one of those dreams where you holeshot and check out? Canadian #111 Cody Matechuk lived that dream in the final.
He managed the gap and took the win wire-to-wire. He did have a tip-over out there but it didn’t matter.
It was Cody’s day and he took the win.
Go ahead and enjoy it, Cody.
That’s an X Games Gold, Cody! Love it.
Brock and his team were happy with 2nd.
Cody and his team were pretty happy with first.
Rod and Cody right after the win.
What has 4 thumbs and are proud Canadians?
There was a yellow flag jumping issue that kept the guys from getting their medals right away. The results stood and here is the podium: Cody Matechuk (CAN), Brock Hoyer (CAN), Kody Kamm (USA).
The boys get their guitars.
Gold medals get the girls.
Cody and his proud mom and dad.
Longtime racing partners, Brock and Rod.
2 Canadians on top of the world.
Team Hoyer poses for my flash (inside joke).
Snow BikeCross Results:
- 111 Cody Matechuk
- 2 Brock Hoyer
- 353 Kody Kamm
- 9 Darrin Mees
- 44 Nolan Heppner
- 75 Josh Hill
- 96 Axell Hodges
- 42 Jake Scott
- 53 Yanick Boucher
- 195 Keaton Ward
- 218 Nathan Bles
- 37 Seth Fischer
- 515 Mick Olson
- 41 Austen Madison
- 35 Mat Cox
- 68 Dean Hunt
- 772 Mark Wilson
- 88 William Van Hook
- 2 Ryan Villopoto
- 144 Jimmy Jarrett
Josh Cox celebrated his weekend by having this delicious milkshake for breakfast on Sunday morning.
Just look at the anticipatory joy in Steve Simms’ eyes as he gets ready to dive into HIS breakfast shake.
After saying good-bye to these guys at the Aspen Airport (and backing into a limo) I headed west towards Oakland for this weekend’s Supercross.
I decided to try a different route and hit Highway 50 west through Utah and Nevada. This is literally called, “The Loneliest Road in America.” You can Google it! There were dead cows, horses, and rib bones like you’d see in movies at the side of the road. I pulled over to snap this awful shot and not one vehicle drove past. It was over 8 hours of nothingness and nobody. Seriously.
I spent the night at Harrah’s Casino in downtown Reno, Nevada, and will now head to Morgan Hill, CA and ambush the Viney Family for a night.
What a great weekend in the Rockies! It was a long way to go but we got the results we were hoping for, two Canadians on top of the podium. Thanks to André Laurin, Josh Cox, Steve Simms, and Allison Kennedy Davies for the hospitality. We’ll let this little Turcotte have the honours in what could be my favourite photo of the week, “See you at the races…”