The expectations were high going into Saturday night’s Ski Big Air final in Aspen, thanks to several skiers making promises of landing the first triple cork in X Games history. But that wasn’t the trick Henrik Harlaut landed that stole the show, earning him a perfect score and winning him gold in the event.
The 21-year-old from Are, Sweden landed a nose butter triple cork 1620, a trick he had never attempted but would earn him a perfect 50-point score. He combined it with his signature trick – the nose butter double cork 1260 – on his other scored run and the two tricks left him with 97 points, six higher than Swiss runner-up Kai Mahler. It was Harlaut’s first X Games gold medal after two disappointing seventh place finishes earlier in the event.
Everything Harlaut said leading up to the competition had everyone believing that he would be one of the few skiers not to attempt the triple cork. Had he not landed the trick, Harlaut still would have won the competition since his nose butter double cork 1260 and 1080 – the second of which was dropped in the best-of-two-run format – still gave him a two-run score of 93 points.
“I had that trick in my mind for the past month but wasn't really planning on trying it unless I had to,” Harlaut told ESPN. “Tanner Hall, Taylor Seaton and Vincent Gagnier were up there at the top of the course and they motivated me. Tanner was like, ‘Yo dawg, you gotta make history, let's do it.’’’
As if landing the trick wasn’t big enough, Harlaut did so without goggles to protect his eyes from the snowflakes and light fog – which is typically unheard of today. There’s no doubt it was one of the top moments from the X Games, but the question is how can he possibly top that going forward?
Photo Credit: Getty