Dill, Plum flavor Winter X Ultracross
MOUNT SNOW, Vt. – South Shore skier Mike Dill and snowboarder Terry Plum came from more than 3,000 miles apart to take third in Sunday’s Winter X Games ultracross.
Dill, of South Lake Tahoe, and Plum, of Sugarloaf, Maine, traveled to Mount Snow to participate in different sports, but joined forces the night before as a random selection determined they would be a team. They finished third in the ultracross, the newest event at ESPN’s Winter X Games, which combines one skier and one rider in a hectic relay race down the mountain.
Travis McLain, of Snowmass, Colo., and Peter Lind, of Salen, Sweden, finished first to claim the first ultracross gold on Sunday, while Scott Gaffney, of Calgary, Alberta, and Sverre Lilliequist, of Saltsjobaden, Sweden, took the silver.
Dill, the second-oldest skier in the X Games, was sixth in the skiercross consolation race on Thursday.
“We had such a fun time,” he said after Thursday’s race. “It’s always fun to be at a new resort and meet some new people.
“ESPN’s done a phenomenal job.”
Dill took fifth in skiercross in the 1998 Winter X Games at Crested Butte, Colo., but blew out his knee before the 1999 games. Dill’s team qualified fastest in the Red Bull UltraCross Jan. 16 at Squaw Valley USA, but was eliminated before the finals. He raced four years for the University of Nevada.
Shaun Palmer finally finished off the X Games boardercross podium, Friday after a collision and spill sent the three-time champion to the hospital for X-rays.
Multisport star Palmer had smooth sailing through the first two rounds, crossing the finish line before anyone else even hit the final jump. But he wouldn’t be so fortunate in the final.
Near the end of the run, Palmer collided with Drew Neilson in mid-air and Scott Gaffney clipped him soon after that. Neilson held on for the first-place finish.
“I just waited for a mistake, not that he made a mistake, but he hit the brakes before the second-to-last table,” Neilson said. “I took a line on the outside and he came left and we kind of collided in the air. I guess he landed OK, but he was hit from behind. I had enough speed luckily to make it over the last jump.”
The lastest official word was that Palmer was examined and released by the medical staff Friday. He has a bruised tailbone and ribs.
“I just saw him go off in the body board, so I guess it’s just precautionary,” Neilson said. “I hope he’s OK. He’s a tough guy. He’s been in a lot of bad accidents, so I think he’ll be alright.”
The women’s boardercross finale also was tight all the way down the hill as Leslee Olson and Carlee Baker came into the last jump to decide the gold. Olson was in the lead but was unaware Baker was right on her heels.
Baker launched her way over Olson, landing a little roughly, causing the two to cross the finish line almost simultaneously.
“I didn’t know anybody was behind me so I was just taking it easy, doing grabs and stuff,” Olson said. “I probably should have pointed it a little more and had it for sure. I looked over and saw her in the air and just thought, ‘Oh no!’ “
The announcers gave the “unofficial victory” to Baker but, taking a cue from the NFL, decided to go to the replay. After several back-and-forth maneuvers by the judges, Olson had the gold medal, her first in X Games competition.
Truckee snowboarder Kevin Jones picked up his second medal of this year’s X Games on Sunday, taking bronze in the big air showdown.
Peter Line of Kirkland, Wash., wowed the judges with a frontside cork 900, and topped the podium with a score of 86.00. Jason Borgstedt, of Eagle River, Alaska, was second with an 83.33, and Jones third with an 81.67.
Jones also picked up a gold in slopestyle on Thursday.
Jones now has eight X Games medals in his trophy case. The only time he didn’t medal was this summer, on the big air ramp in San Francisco.
Jones was one of two Tahoe Basin riders in the men’s big air event. Jimmy Halopoff of South Lake Tahoe finished 17th with a 67.67 score. Jones wasn’t the only Truckee rider on the podium in the discipline, though. Jessica Dalpiaz, also of Truckee, earned the bronze in the women’s big air, launching herself onto the podium with a back 360 indie on her first run.
“I was real happy, because this was my first big air of the year,” said Dalpiaz, who finished fourth in all four snowboarding disciplines at the 1999 Winter X Games, at Crested Butte, Colo. “Also, I enjoyed that the jump was smaller than usual.”
Tara Dakides, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., finished with the gold on a 78.00 run, ahead of second-place Leah Wagner of Vancouver, B.C. (73.33) and Dalpiaz (67.33). Dalpiaz attempted to add another half-rotation on her second jump, but came up short, but rode into third with her clean landing on the first.
Candide Thovex, a 17-year-old Frenchman, jumped up and grabbed gold during the final day of competition at ESPN’s fourth annual Winter X Games.
Thovex only needed one jump to mine gold in Sunday’s big air finale. Completing a 900, Thovex scored 83.00 points on his first jump. Considered by some of his peers to be the best up-and-coming big air athlete, he had finished fourth in this event in 1999.
Thovex and the other skiing big air athletes had to deal with some adversity over the weekend. Saturday’s preliminaries were postponed because of unsafe, windy conditions on Panhandle run.
Those conditions may or may not have contributed to the back injury suffered by Shane Anderson after a spill during warm-ups on Saturday. Anderson, who strained his back, had to withdraw from the event.
The finals moved to the adjacent slopestyle course, and shortened to two runs per athlete.
Nobody could match Thovex’s 900. Skogen Sprang of Mill Valley, Calif., had a second run of 81.25 points, earning the silver medal. Twenty-year-old New York City native Evan Raps also had a strong second run, scoring 80.75 points with the judges to earn the bronze. Legend Jonny Moseley finished ninth with a best run of 73.50.
Rounding out the top 10 were Vincent Dorion (fifth), Philippe Poirier (sixth), Philippe Belanger (seventh) and Tanner Hall (eighth)
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