Burke back on top | PostIndependent.com

Burke back on top

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Rustin Gudim The Aspen TimesCanadian Sarah Burke gets inverted during Thursday night's ski superpipe women's final at Buttermilk.

ASPEN, Colorado – Sarah Burke, the queen of skiing superpipe at the Winter X Games, has regained her throne.

A year after her bid for a four-peat was derailed by Jen Hudak, the 28-year-old from Whistler, B.C., resumed her dynastic run at Buttermilk on Thursday. She’s now claimed four of the event’s last five gold medals.

“It’s amazing,” said a grinning Burke, who’s barely recovered from a fall shoulder surgery. “I’m so happy happy. It’s been a big of a struggle the last little bit. … I couldn’t really ski until January, so it’s been a really fast turnaround.”

After taking a spill and losing a ski trying for a 720 on her first run of the night, Burke wowed the crowd with a smooth second run that vaulted her into the lead. Accumulating a score of 91.33, the veteran of seven X Games stuck a smooth run that featured a 900 and big amplitude.

“I was just trying to keep it simple,” Burke said. “I was wanting to do an alley oop flat 5 I’ve been working on, but I had to play it safe and I’m happy I did. My third run, I tried to clean it up.”

X Games rookie Brita Sigourney, a 21-year-old college student and freestyle coach at Squaw Valley Resort in the Lake Tahoe area, took home silver (86).

“It feels amazing,” Sigourney said. “I didn’t try to put any pressure on myself. No expectations. I was just trying to have as much fun as possible. That’s exactly what I did and it turned out well for me.”

Sigourney, who grew up in coastal Carmel, Calif., spent much of her childhood in her parents’ car making the five-hour drive to Lake Tahoe on weekends.

“My parents just drove us up to Lake Tahoe every week,” Sigourney, currently a junior graphic design major at the University of California-Davis. “I was on a team, until my senior year in high school. … My parents were pretty dedicated.”

Roz Groenewoud, a 21-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, claimed bronze (84) for the second straight year.

Hudak, last year’s superpipe champ, nearly stole the show with her final run on Thursday.

The Connecticut native and former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club post-graduate skier came agonizingly close to completing a 1080. Hudak very nearly did, but lost her balance and dropped to the pipe floor moments after touching down.

“I thought she had it,” Sigourney said. “That was the best 10 I’ve ever seen a girl do. I’m stoked she pulled it out, but I’m bummed she didn’t land it.”


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