Vernon’s Kevin Hill is all smiles after claiming snowboard cross gold at Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.

Vernon’s Kevin Hill is all smiles after claiming snowboard cross gold at Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.

Hill grabs Winter X Games gold

Kevin Hill collects gold medal in men's snowboard cross at Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.

Vernon’s Kevin Hill was hoping to get up on stage with Snoop Dogg Friday night in Aspen, Colo.

After his rock-star performance at Winter X Games earlier that day, the 28-year-old Hill would probably feel right at home on the big stage.

“You never know, right? It could happen,” an ecstatic Hill told the Morning Star, after claiming gold in men’s snowboard cross.

“It’s really, really awesome. Best day of my life probably, because this is the one I wanted to win  more than any other event.”

The X Games result came just one week after Hill collected silver at the FIS world championships in Austria. He was the runner-up at X Games in 2011, and 14th in 2012.

Hill was second in qualifying, and won both his quarterfinal and semifinal heats.

Asked what the difference was this time around, a breathless Hill told an ESPN correspondent moments after the win: “Confidence, I think. I wanted this win so bad, more than any other win.

“It’s the best one yet. I wanted to win X (Games) more than Olympics, to be honest. I am so excited right now.”

Hill gained the hole-shot (lead) out of the gates, was overtaken momentarily, but surged back in front by taking a great line through the opening two berms. The Sochi Olympian built a big enough lead in the six-man final that none of the other competitors were able to draft off of him.

He finished in 50.036 seconds, more than a second ahead of silver medallist Omar Visintin of Italy. American Nate Holland took bronze.

Hill said his podium finish in Austria was a big confidence booster coming into X Games.

“It helped a lot. When I go out to a race now, I don’t just go out to get a podium, I go out to win,” said Hill, adding the conditions at Aspen’s Buttermilk Resort were terrific.

“It was cold overnight, down to about minus-22, but it warms up during the day and it was perfect snow conditions.”

Hill, who pocketed an estimated US$25,000 for the win, will be home in time for a celebration in his honour tonight (6:00) at Monashee’s Bar and Grille.

He will train in Vernon over the next month before the World Cup season resumes in March. The national snowboard cross championships go April 3-6, at Big White.

Meanwhile, in other X Games action, Vernon’s Josh Dueck missed the finals in the mono skier cross event Thursday at X Games.

In Friday action, Vernon’s Justin Dorey placed 10th in the men’s ski superpipe elimination round. Noah Morrison, also of Vernon, was scheduled to compete in the men’s slopestyle event.


Vernon Morning Star