Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman returns to top of women’s X Games ski pipe hierarchy | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman returns to top of women’s X Games ski pipe hierarchy

Austin Colbert
The Aspen Times

It only took one off year for Maddie Bowman to start having some doubts. The halfpipe skier from South Lake Tahoe won X Games Aspen gold every year from 2013 to '16 before settling for bronze a year ago.

Thursday at Buttermilk, she returned to the top.

"I feel good. I don't think it's really sunk in," Bowman said. "I didn't know if I'd be back up here on top. The women's riding is so high right now, I didn't even know who was going to win. It feels so special."

Behind a second-run score of 92 in the three-run women's superpipe final, Bowman held off Carmel, California's Brita Sigourney (90.33) and Canadian Cassie Sharpe (88.66) for her fifth X Games gold medal in six years.

This is Sigourney's second X Games Aspen silver, her other coming in 2011. She's never won gold. Sharpe won X Games gold at Oslo in 2016, but Thursday marked her first Aspen podium. Her brother, Darcy Sharpe, was second in qualifying Thursday in men's snowboard slopestyle.

"The X Games gold medal means so much to me," Bowman said. "Compared to the Olympics, it's so different. X Games is where our sport was born and where it came to be. So it feels really close to my heart to win this event."

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In fourth was France's Marie Martinod; fifth, Vermont's Devin Logan; sixth, Japan's Ayana Onozuka; seventh, Germany's Sabrina Cakmakli; and eighth, Massachusetts' Annalisa Drew.

Bowman, 24, is the reigning Olympic gold medalist and will attempt to defend her title next month in South Korea. She was the top qualifier on the 2018 U.S. women's ski halfpipe team, which includes Sigourney, Drew and Logan.

Sigourney finished sixth in Sochi, while Drew was ninth. Logan won silver in ski slopestyle in Sochi, but did not compete in halfpipe that year. She'll compete in both in Korea. The women's ski halfpipe qualifier at the Olympics is scheduled for Feb. 19, with finals Feb. 20.

"It feels great to have the girls with me," Bowman said. "Every girl on the women's team is so strong, even a girl like Carly (Margulies), who didn't make the Olympic team. And to have them skiing alongside you really pushes you."

Bowman is trying to ignore the pressure of entering the Pyeongchang Games as the reigning Olympic and X Games Aspen gold medalist. She did, however, receive a bit of advice from Park City's Joss Christensen, who won Olympic gold in men's ski slopestyle in Sochi.

"He said, 'You don't have to defend your gold medal because no one can ever take it from you,'" Bowman reiterated. "So I'm just going to go and set some new goals and have some fun."

Women’s Ski Superpipe Final Results

1. Maddie Bowman, USA 92

2. Brita Sigourney, USA 90.33

3. Cassie Sharpe, CAN 88.66

4. Marie Martinod, FRA 87.33

5. Devin Logan, USA 82.33

6. Ayana Onozuka, JPN 80.33

7. Sabrina Cakmakli, GER 68

8. Annalisa Drew, USA 51.33