Snowboarder Mark McMorris Is Now Winningest Winter X Games Athlete With 22nd Medal

He’s in a league of his own—literally.

Heading into X Games Aspen 2023, Canada’s Mark McMorris was tied with Jamie Anderson of the U.S. for the most Winter X Games medals of all time, with 21 apiece.

But with his statement win in men’s snowboard slopestyle Sunday afternoon for his 22nd X Games medal—and seventh slopestyle gold—McMorris moved into air as rarefied as the heights he reached off the big air jumps at the bottom of the course.

McMorris was in silver-medal position ahead of his gold-winning final run. With his brother, Craig, on the mic providing commentary, Mark was technical and stylish on the rails at the top of the course before going switch backside 1620 (four and a half full rotations, up from a 1260 in his previous runs) on the third jump and backside triple cork 1620 Indy grab on the last jump.

“Are you kidding me?!” Craig yelled on the broadcast after McMorris’ walk-off fourth run. Immediately after, the cameras pick up Mark—elated and relieved—screaming “YES!”

It was enough to bump Marcus Kleveland—who had taken gold in big air Saturday night—to silver, giving McMorris that historic 22nd medal.

At X Games Aspen 2022, McMorris earned his sixth career slopestyle gold, which surpassed Shaun White for the most gold medals in the discipline.

The X Games milestone comes a little less than a year after McMorris earned his third consecutive Winter Olympics bronze medal at the Beijing Games.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I just keep getting older and people keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits,” McMorris said Sunday after the win, adding that Saturday night’s big air competition—in which he finished just off the podium—was a “downer.”

He couldn’t help but wonder, Do I still have it? (To McMorris’ point, China’s Su Yiming, who took silver in at Beijing 2022, put down a clean and mind-boggling 1980 in X Games big air on Saturday…and took bronze.)

“And then to have one of those miracle wins when you do it on the last run and someome makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings,” McMorris continued. “And that’s literally what happened last year, it happened in 2019 and it happened again this year, and I’m just so thrilled.”

As for what McMorris considered the highlight of his run? On a course he described as “so tricky” (the rails were situated nearly on top of one another with little room for error) with tight jumps, “To do back-to-back 16s as well as I did them is something I’ll be extremely proud of for a long time,” McMorris said.

Anderson, who is expecting her first child, didn’t compete at X Games this year. McMorris, meanwhile, had to sit out the 2021 iteration with Covid.

Though he has now pulled ahead in their race for most dominant Winter X Games athlete of all time (an enormous feat when you consider this category also includes White), McMorris hopes that Anderson will continue to push him in 2024—and beyond.

To earn the winningest X Games athlete of all time title outright, McMorris would have to top 30 medals—the mark skateboarder Bob Burnquist holds.

Over a 13-year X Games career, McMorris has been one of the, if not the, biggest drivers of progression in slopestyle. The 29-year-old landed the first ever backside triple cork 1440 while filming in 2011, a trick that would become a staple of podium-worthy slopestyle runs in the years to follow.

That he achieved this level of snowboarding prowess hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan—which sits a mere 1,893 feet above sea level—just contributes to McMorris’ legend.

“I know I still have the tricks and the motivation to want to still do well. I’m gonna take it one year at a time, compete a bit this year, and if I still feel like a real contender I’ll go for the next Games,” McMorris told me in December when asked about if he thought he’d go for a fourth Olympics in 2026.

Heading home from X Games Sunday with another (and a historic) piece of hardware for his collection, McMorris now has a tangible reminder of just how much of a contender he still is.