Steamboat Springs Editor's note: This story has been updated from its original published version. Shannon Dunn was the first Steamboat Springs woman to win a snowboarding medal at the X Games.
What’s been an amazing run for Steamboat Springs born-and-trained snowboarder Arielle Gold continued Saturday.
She was invited to the X Games super-pipe competition only as an alternate, earning a spot after another rider backed out, but she proved she belonged, finishing third in, thanks to ESPN, one of the sport’s brightest spotlights.
Gold showed she was there to compete with a first run that scored in at 75.00 points, but it was her second run that set her on the podium.
She hit a backside method, a frontside 900, a backside 540, a frontside 540, a backside trail grab, a frontside 720 and finally, with a trick that left the crowd, the competitors and the announcers talking, a cab 900.
She had another clean run on her final go, but the score didn’t quite match her second run.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work on her part,” Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard director Jon Casson said. “It’s pretty cool. X Games is really the biggest stage in half-pipe snowboarding. It has the most audience and it’s become the biggest event, and for her to step up at this level, it’s just incredible.”
Gold's performance came a week after she won the half-pipe World Championship, making for two enormous feathers in the cap of Gold, who at 16 is one of the youngest competitors in the sport.
“What a week,” Casson said. “Arielle, she’s on fire.”
Kelly Clark won the event with a final-run 90.33. That edged out Elana Hight, whose best run, her first, was scored at 90.00. Of the 24 runs from the eight finalists, Gold easily was the most consistent, and she landed two of the night's top five runs.
The experience was a frustrating one for Steamboat’s Maddy Schaffrick. She didn’t get a clean run in her three attempts, scoring 25.00 on her first, 24.66 on her third and 8.00 on her final try.
Steamboat’s Matt Ladley will compete Sunday in the men’s super-pipe finals.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com