The highly anticipated triple cork battle claimed the skyline above Buttermilk Mountain Friday night, capping off the second day of competition at X Games Aspen 2013 with a come-from-behind victory by one of the discipline's pioneers.
With two previous golds to his name, four-time event medalist and 2012 Big Air silver medalist Torstein Horgmo opened the America's Navy Snowboard Big Air competition with its first triple but lagged behind during much of the 18-minute final, his two-run point total consistently coming up shy against defending gold medalist Mark McMorris and a rampaging Stale Sandbech.
But in the waning minutes, the 25-year-old Norwegian turned it around. Horgmo scored a perfect 50-point run with a switch backside triple cork 1440, the first ever landed in competition, to claim the gold.
"I can't believe it," Horgmo said. "I tried it a week ago and I thought I'd give it a shot here. Any of the other podiums I've been on ever, this was the best one for sure. This was the craziest level of riding that I've ever been a part of."
McMorris also nailed a critical triple on his final hit of the night, a cab triple underflip 1440 -- a trick he had never tried before Friday night, and no one has ever landed in competition before. The judges awarded him with a score of 48, which was not enough to overtake Horgmo, but allowed him to nab the silver medal away from Sandbech, who had held the lead for most of the final jam session.
"Torstein is a boss! What can I say," McMorris said of his friend's victory. "He just absolutely changed the game of snowboarding, and I'm very, very glad I could be a part of it."
Sandbech and his consistent, near-perfect aerial awareness would finish respectably with the bronze. Until the final moments, Sandbech was the only rider to have breached the 90-point mark with his best-of-two point total.
McMorris's final triple tied his score at 94 with Horgmo, but it was the Norwegian's next-best score -- that flawless 50-pointer -- that broke the tie.
Other event highlights included Sebastien Toutant's double backside rodeo 1260s and Ulrik Badertscher going for a clean 1620.
McMorris is scheduled to defend his Slopestyle gold medal Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.