The Five Gnarliest Wipeouts in Winter X Games HistoryJan 30 2007 / Aspen, CO
We watch action-sports for the thrill. For the glory. For the extremeties these athletes go through to attain new heights and achievements. And, whether or not we wish to admit it, we watch action-sports for those insane crashes.
The kind that makes you cringe. Makes you gasp in awe, praying in some fashion that the victim didn't sever his spinal cord, yet grinning with glee at the sight of pure mayhem just witnessed.
Face it, the craziest wipeouts in action-sports in a way define what extreme sports, and especially the Winter X Games, are. They are the determinant for the levels that the craziest athletes in the world are willing to go to for achieving whatever it is they're aiming to achieve. Goals. Adrenaline. Victory.
With Winter X Games 11 upon us, here they are. The five most insane crashes distinguished in Winter X Games history. Some of them resulted in crazy spectacles and minor injuries, while others had horrific ramifications with gruesome injuries.
The five gnarliest wipeouts in the history of the Winter X Games:
Winter X Games 8: Brian Deegan Crashes Hard in Moto X. Deegan, leader of the famed Metal Mulisha, was considered the easy favorite of the Moto X Best Trick event. He had already completed the 360 in Summer X, winning him the gold medal, and Deegan also stood atop the podium at Winter X Games 6.
With all eyes on Deegan in the Moto X preliminaries, Brian attempted his newest signature move, the 360. However, shortly after realizing that he wouldn't be able to complete the 360-degree rotation in the air, Deegan bails his bike mid-air and falls 45 feet onto hard-packed snow.
The injuries were brutal. Not only did he break both his wrists (how he went to the bathroom those following months we'll never know), Deegan broke the largest and what is considered to be the most painful bone in the body, the femur.
Yet Deegan would return, winning the gold medal in Moto X Best Trick at the 2005 Winter X Games 9. "I don't think many people have come from a broken femur to win again," proclaimed the leader of the Metal Mulisha.
Winter X Games 8: Hannah Teter Eats Pow Wearing Only a Tank Top. This is one of those crashes that prompts more of a giggle than jaw-dropping awe from watching a potentially serious crash. Yet in some ways it looked extremely painful.
With her first gold medal already wrapped up in the Superpipe event, Hannah Teter decided to go for her victory run with full flair. Teter strips off her top ala Brandi Chastain and goes for her final run wearing just a tank top. Remarkably enough, this was the second time in two days she pulled her top off.
Yet despite the ability to pull off a frontside 540, melon grab, frontside air, McTwist and frontside 900 in her winning run, Teter bails hard on her victory run. Wearing only her tank top. And eating straight pow with her helmet falling off as she slid down the side of the pipe. Her bare skin was completely covered in snow. Teter learned a valuable lesson that day: Skin and snow don't tend to get along.
“Ooh, that's cold,” she said. Ya think? Many still adored Teter for her ability to have fun that day. “Do it with some flair. I know I had a lot of freakin' fun,” said Teter, reminding everyone what snowboarding is all about.
Winter X Games 6: Shaun Palmer Slides Past the Finish Line Unconscious in Boarder X. At the time, this was supposed to be Shaun Palmer's final Winter X Games event. He already had six gold medals to his name, and given the fact he's Shaun Palmer, he didn't have much to prove.
Then came the semifinals of Boarder X. Holding a comfortable lead, Palmer approached the final table with his board wobbling a bit. He was losing his balance going full speed. Palmer caught an edge going over the final transition. His board literally buckled, and Shaun Palmer landed square on his face going full speed. The fall knocked him unconscious, yet he amazingly slid past the finish line thanks to the momentum that carried him through.
After receiving medical attention, Palmer regained consciousness, saw the replay of his fall with full amazement, and decided at first to actually compete in the finals. After a few moments, with full-hearted advice from his coaches, Palmer bowed out. Yet his legacy remained fully intact.
Winter X Games 2: Jason Jones is Pancaked by a Snowmobile in Snowcross. In the first Winter X Games event held at Crested Butte, Colorado (after the first Winter X at Big Bear), Snowcross makes its debut.
Already a heavily-popular sport, snowmobile racing reached new heights when it made its debut onto the Winter X course. And that first event reminded Snowcross racers everywhere that safety is important when heavy machines are flying over your head.
Racer Jason Jones was made that example. During the semifinals, Jones was literally landed on by another snowmobile, completely crushed by 400 lbs. of metal and machinery. Amazingly, Jones came out of the crash with minor injuries, but the aesthetics of the crash left an imprint on every spectator's mind for years.
Winter X Games 1: John Strader and His Super-Modified Shovel are Literally Anhialiated. It's weird enough that there used to be an event held at Winter X called Super-Modified Shovel Racing, where you sit on a shovel modified into a sup'd-out shovel with a handle between your legs. Yet on this particular day, John Strader made sure that Winter X Games 1, held at Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, California, was the first and last event for this competition.
Lined up on a straight, downhill course against a single competitor (similar to a drag race), Strader took off against his opponent going full speed. About three-quarters of the way down, Strader's Super-Modified Shovel loses control. First the Shovel flips twice, then flies straight up perpendicular to the ground (spinning on an imaginary axis at this point), then proceeds to flip multiple more times, pieces flying all over the place.
The Shovel flipped eight times in all, with Strader's legs protruding and being crushed in the process. Medical units immediately rushed to the scene, as Strader was completely in shock. And rightfully so. John Strader would suffer numerous injuries, including a broken back, internal bleeding, and a broken leg. An astonishing crash to observe, and the last of its kind, since Super-Modified Shovel Racing is no more.
- Cyrus Saatsaz