CORONA, Calif. – Led by gold medalists Nate Holland, Tucker Hibbert, Sarah Burke and the remarkable story of T.J. Schiller, Monster Energy’s M-claw logo again went BIG at the ESPN Winter X Games 13 in Aspen, Colo.!
Holland (Snowboarder-X), Hibbert (Snocross) and Burke (Ski SuperPipe) pulled off repeat gold medal performances (four for Holland and ‘three-peats’ for Hibbert and Burke) in decisive fashion this past weekend on the slopes and at the base of Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo. Add to that a Cinderella Story gold medal from men’s freeskier Schiller in the men’s Ski Slopestyle and Monster Energy athletes brought home an impressive four gold medals, six total medals including bronze from both Mikkel Bang in Snowboard Slopestyle and Colby West in Ski Slopestyle.
“Certainly an impressive weekend in Aspen for Monster Energy athletes to say the least,” said Monster Energy Director of Sports Marketing John Lee. “Action sports fans worldwide were tuned into this event and our athletes stepped up and won some exciting competitions – or crashed out trying. Everyone at Monster Energy would like to congratulate the athletes that represented us this past weekend on winter action sports’ global stage and we wish you the best of luck in your competition efforts around the world the rest of the winter.”
The 30-year-old Truckee native made a BIG statement in winning his fourth consecutive Winter X gold medal – one that no doubt says he’s the favorite for gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Crushing his way through the qualifiers, Holland would not be denied in the finals – even though he trailed for much of the contest. Out of the gate in around 3rd place, he gently muscled his way past Graham Watanabe before setting up Stian Sivertzen on a high line prior to the rollers to take the lead – and eventual win, breaking fellow Monster Energy athlete Shaun Palmer’s record for most Snowboarder-X wins.
“Today was pretty much a forced pass,” said Holland of his move on Watanabe. “I took a really direct line through that option feature and got right into the mix. I was able to let my board ride and got Graham there. A little later I took down Stian.
“You can’t win the race in the first turn, but you sure as hell can lose it.”
Keeping on the slope Monster Energy’s Burke was again masterful in here performance in the women’s Ski SuperPipe. Burke, much like Hibbert and Holland, is in a class of here own, though the gap is closing a bit.
With the amplitude wicked and the energy level pinned at the base of the enormous X Games SuperPipe at Buttermilk, Burke was forced to put it all together on her final run – which she did – to score the close 93.33 to 92.66 win over Jen Hudak for the gold. Burke opened with a grabbed, ten-foot-out 900 on the first hit, then put together consistent tricks throughout the remainder of her run which allowed her to edge out Hudak.
“Both Jen and Jess (Cumming) rode real well and it made for an exciting event for the fans,” said Burke. “Everybody’s stepping up their games and I’m happy I was able to the same and come away with the win. And it was good having the Monster Army there with me!”
Hibbert, 24, who won his first X Games gold medal in snocross at age 15, topped a stacked Snocross field that included Robbie Malinoski, Dan Ebert and Levi LaVallee for his third-consecutive X Games gold in the event.
“I got a good start and was pumped because that’s what I wanted to do – get out clean and get away from all the other guys,” said Hibbert. “And it worked out good. I got out early and pushed hard.”
Those in attendance at Buttermilk Mountain watched in awe as Hibbert pulled away from the world’s greatest snocross racers much like his Monster Energy counterparts Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath would do to the world’s top motocross racers during their heyday. Fans watching via television didn’t get quite the same effect as they’d be forced to watch the battles for 2nd and 3rd place – which were much more close. But every now and then the camera would catch up to Hibbert and the announcers would go on about how dominant the hard-charging Minnesotan has been and will continue to be.
As for Hibbert, he was casual about his effort – as he always is. “I don’t know how to explain the success, but it’s just been going awesome,” he said regarding not only his X Games gold medal performance, but also his undefeated season thus far on the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series. “I work hard and I’ve got good equipment, good snowmobiles, good people, sponsors and it all comes together and we get results.”
Quite possibly the best ‘feel good’ story emanating from Winter X 13 was that of Monster Energy’s T.J. Schiller. The veteran freeskier, who hadn’t medaled at Winter X since ’05 (Best Trick) and was coming off ACL reconstruction surgery and hadn’t even been skiing much prior to arriving in Aspen as an alternate for the men’s Ski Slopestyle competition, competing only once in the past year.
But Schiller was up to the task. He shook off the rust during practice, turning heads with his smooth descent through the tight and technical Slopestyle course. And as one man’s misfortune is another’s gain, Schiller got the pass into the prelims when another rider went down and was unable to continue. He’d take full advantage of it, rolling through his qualifier in third place and throwing down a 93.0 on his first of three final runs to take the win, which looked like this:
- 360 rail slide to 180 rail slide, 180 off
- Rodeo 540 off the Butter Box
- Rodeo 630 off the Cannon Box
- 900 (w/ grab) across the Crossover Canyon
- Switch 1080 off the Money Booter
“I can’t begin to tell everyone at Monster how pumped I am,” said Schiller. “Thanks again for having my back. This was an unreal weekend.”
Also noteworthy from Winter X 13: Bang & West rock 3rd place in the Snowboard/Ski Slopestyle events, respectively; Peter Olenick slammed hard on the Money Booter; Paul Thacker’s mechanic bailed and Thacker had to wrench for himself; Chris Burandt wasn’t able to pick up on his former gold medal ways in the Snowmobile Speed & Style event; Andy Finch and Louie Vito jammed in the Snowboard SuperPipe, finishing 7th and 8th, respectively; Torstein Horgmo maybe should have won the Snowboard Big Air finals vs. Travis Rice, but the texting public voted otherwise.
Monster Energy supports the sport. Be it skis, boards, snowmobiles, SX, rally, insane distance jumping, MX, MotoGP, road racing, supermoto, off-road, FMX, skate, MTB, rock crawling, wake, mini bikes, surf, snow, BMX – name it – the athletes are rockin’ Monster Energy more than anything these days. Check out all the types – Original Monster Energy, Monster Lo-Carb, Monster Assault, Monster Khaos, Monster’s fruit juice hybrid dubbed “M-80,” the party-friendly MIXXD, the ground-breaking Java Monster premium coffee & cream drink line supercharged with our Monster Energy blend, along with the new Monster Energy “Hitman” energy shot. Everyone running the Monster Energy M-claw logo at Winter X dug ‘em – so will you. On the ‘Net at www.monsterarmy.com and www.monsterenergy.com