Steamboat’s Taylor Gold looks to string new tricks together in 2021 X Games run
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Taylor Gold is in Aspen and ready for the 2021 X Games. Last year, Gold was the victor in the very first superpipe session, a more relaxed version of the superpipe event.
This year, in the men’s snowboard superpipe, the Steamboat Springs native is hoping to string two new tricks together with hopes of medaling.
Gold has got the individual tricks down, a double Michalchuk 1080 and a switch McTwist. However, putting them together is more challenging.
“The landing for the double Michalchuk 1080 is blind, so you come around and you can’t see the other wall right away. You’re landing switch, blind and then riding across the pipe switch on your heels, which is pretty hard just by itself,” Gold explained. “Then, the switch McTwist is kind of an awkward trick. I think there’s some difficult elements to both of them and then linking them together is kind of another deal.”
Gold, who now resides in Summit County, said whether he’ll attempt the combo in competition depends on how practice goes. He’ll have quite some time to plan his runs, as the men’s snowboard superpipe competition isn’t until 7:45 p.m. Sunday.
Ahead of his 2020 X Games gold, Gold competed in the Laax Open where he landed the first-ever double Michalchuk 1080 in snowboard halfpipe competition. The trick earned him third at the Laax Open that year.
Gold just returned from the Laax Open where he took second in the qualification round. In the finals, Gold earned ninth while Japan’s Yuto Totsuka, Australian Scotty James and Japanese snowboarder Ruka Hirano finished first, second and third, respectively.
All three will be at X Games Aspen this weekend, along with Shaun White, who is back at his first X Games since 2017.
While the halfpipe at X Games is epic, it’s not in the same wheelhouse as the legendary halfpipe in Laax, Switzerland.
“Laax’s pipe is the best halfpipe in the world,” Gold said. “It’s cut by the best pipe cutter in the world. X Games pipe has some challenges just because the snow is a little weird. The snow in Aspen tends to be a little sugary.”
Over days of practice and nights of competition, the pipe should shape up by Sunday evening. There are no crowds, but people can watch Gold and other athletes compete on ESPN or watch for updates on X Games social media platforms.
“I feel really good. I feel like I’m riding better than I ever have,” Gold said. “I just need to put the pieces together in a contest run.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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