Steamboat’s Nik Baden 9th in slope-style |

Steamboat’s Nik Baden 9th in slope-style

Steamboat's Nik Baden spins off a jump Friday during the men's snowboard slope-style elimination round at X Games in Aspen. Baden landed his run on that, his second try, and it was good enough to put him in the top eight, which would have qualified him for finals. He wasn't "in" long, however, as the next rider down bumped him to ninth, where he finished.
Joel Reichenberger

— At the X Games in Aspen, Thursday and Saturday signify the “now” for Steamboat Springs extreme sports athletes.

Friday signaled the “next.”

Taylor Gold, who competed Thursday in men’s snowboard superpipe, and Arielle Gold, who competes Saturday, surely aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but Friday, 17-year-old Nik Baden made the most of his X Games debut, finishing ninth in the men’s snowboard slope-style elimination round.

That left him one spot out of finals, which took the top eight.

He wasn’t down at all.

“I’m so happy to have been there and done the best I could,” Baden said. “I’m not bummed at all. Maybe next time I’ll do better, but for now, I’m really happy about today.”

Baden was a substitute in the field. Earlier in the week he thought he was in, but he didn’t find out for sure until Friday morning, just a few hours before he was to strap in and hit the snow.

He stumbled on his first attempt to capture the moment, failing to land a jump on his first run. He was clean on his second and final run, however, and that threw him in the mix to advance to Sunday’s final round.

He hit a switchback side 1080 doublecork, a cab 1260 and a frontside 1080 on the three big jumps on the course.

He was initially in finals, his second-run score of 67.33 placing him eighth. But the next rider down, Norwegian Emil Ulsletten, bumped him out, recording a score of 72.00.

“I got a fair score,” Baden said. “It was a great experience. It was my first time and it was surreal. It was everything I had seen on TV in the past, and I was a part of it. That was cool.”

Elsewhere, a pair Steamboat-connected snowboarders shined in the mens and womens snowboard X event. Belle Brockhoff, an Australian who used to train in Steamboat Springs, finished fourth in the women’s race, just out of the medals. She got a strong start and led through the middle of the course but couldn’t hang on to the end.

Lindsey Jacobellis won the race. Dominique Maltais was second and Nelly Moenne Loccos was third.

On the men’s side, Jarryd Hughes, another Aussie who trained in Steamboat, was sixth in his quarterfinals heat and didn’t advance to the semifinals.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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