Aspen, Colo. – Monster Energy’s Joe Parsons wins gold in Snowmobile Freestyle at X Games Aspen 2017. The pumped-up crowd was in for a spectacular show today at the Monster Energy Snowmobile Freestyle event. Battling heavy competition from the world’s top snowmobile freestylers, Parsons pulled out a rare trick—never seen before in competition—to take home the gold medal on his last run. The 29-year-old from Yakima, WA, also made history as the first snowmobile rider in X Games history to win gold two years in a row.
The pressure was on at Buttermilk Mountain. With the best of only two 75-second runs determining the winner, every trick counted and every mistake could be the make-or-break of a podium finish. The Freestyle course design featured a massive centerpiece jump and an 18-foot high quarterpipe ramp, encouraging riders to unleash the trick creations they had been working on all season to convince the judges.
Ultimately, it was such a rare maneuver—or “unicorn trick”—that helped Parsons achieve a come-from-behind victory. Facing competition from Colton Moore, who was firmly seated in the top spot with a 92.00-point score when the finals came down to last attempts, Parsons showed why he is the most decorated snowmobiler in X Games history.
On the last run of today’s finals, Parsons locked in the gold with a combination of fully extended aerials—tweaking his body to the fullest in mid-air for maximum points—and technical backflip variations. Highlights included a one-handed nac flip, followed by his signature Gator Wrestler move—a backflip performed while contorting the body sideways over the handlebars—and a fully extended Superman seat grab.
But when he fell short of perfectly executing a “Parsby” flip (aka a sit-and-spin backflip), Parsons needed something big to seal the deal. As his finishing move, the 29-year-old ex-racer pulled out a Volt; a double body varial—turning around on his seat to ride backward in mid-air, and turning back just in time for a no-handed landing. It’s a move Parsons has now only landed three times out of 12 attempts so far, never before in competition, and it locked in his 93.00 point score for the win.
After the Final, Parsons said, “This is my fifth gold medal and I’ve never cried after any of them, but I cried today. Just because I was injured trying that final trick before and I had it in my head for a long time. So making it count when I did today really meant everything.”
The win brings Parsons’ X Games count to 16 medals, five of them gold. He holds the second-most X Games winter event medals in history after snowboarder Shawn White. One of the sport’s innovators, Parsons figures out new tricks on a foam pit at his home in Yakima, where he is often joined by teammates Cory Davis and Heath Frisby, who missed the podium.
Also closely missing the podium, Monster Energy’s Brett Turcotte brought a big bag of tricks to Aspen, including a fully extended nac flip, heel clicker to Superman flip, high-flying contorted whip that brought his 450 lb. sled sideways, and Superman seat grab on his perfect first run for 88.66 points.
Although he looked determined to improve his score and rise to the podium, the 28-year-old from Kamloops, BC, crashed on a backflip in his last run. He walked away unscathed and gave the crowd a few tricks before the buzzer, but had to settle for fourth place.