Freestyle Snowboarding reached new heights as the bar was raised during the men's slopestyle final...
Finally, the event that we all had been waiting for was upon us as the X Games men’s slopestyle finals went live on Saturday afternoon.
The eight riders who made the cut from Wednesday’s elimination round were ready to stake their claim for X Games gold. The build up to this event had been tense and between the Shaun White vs. Mark McMorris battle and the triple cork revolution that went down in big air, the stage was set for a true slopestyle fight.
The three-run format gave each rider plenty of opportunity to put together a winning run. The flat light made the course tricky and even the slightest sketch or hand drag was sending riders off their line, meaning that consistency from top to bottom would be key.
Gjermund Braaten fell victim to the course and had a hard time putting down a clean run and ended the day in 8th place. Aleksander Oestreng finished in 7th place. He has really good style and if he would have stomped his backside triple cork on the last jump he would have finished much higher up. Peetu Piiroinen wasn’t able to keep the momentum going from qualifiers as he took the 6th spot. He did have one of the best lines of the day on the bottom two jumps as he stomped back-to-back 1260s.
All week, the talk was about Shaun White and how he would do in slopestyle finals. He finished in 5th place, but you can be sure he will be looking to improve his chances of Olympic slopestyle glory. New Hampshire’s Chas Guldemond finished just off the podium in 4th place. Chas put down a really good run, including a double backside rodeo and cab double cork 1260 and it says a lot about the level of riding when a run like that isn’t enough to get you on the podium.
Seppe Smits was able to hold off the other competitors to earn 3rd place. His first fun was epic, mixing technical rails tricks with 1260s and triple cork 1440s, and a few minor sketches was the only thing that kept him from the top two steps. Maxence Parrot has had quite the past few weeks and he can now add an X-Games silver medal to his list of accomplishments. He threw down a different double on the top three jumps and ended his run with a backside triple cork. It was an impressive showing for the young Canadian, who is quickly becoming a household name
Sitting on top after his first run was slopestyle king Mark McMorris. His run was flawless, with hard rail tricks and both double and triple cork rotations with style. As the last rider of the day, even with the win in the bag Mark wasn’t content to just take a victory lap. Instead, he dropped in and threw down an amazing slopestyle run, scoring a 98 and emphatically claiming slopestyle gold.
With the curtain brought down on a very successful X-Games slopestyle contest, it is hard to ignore the massive amount of progression that happened at Aspen. As the tricks are getting harder the riders are continuing to push the level of riding to new heights, and the rest of the contest season should be pretty fun to watch.
1. Mark McMorris 94.66
2. Maxence Parrot 90.00
3. Seppe Smits 85.00
4. Chas Guldemond 80.00
5. Shaun White 71.00
6. Peetu Piiroinen 66.00
7. Aleksander Oestreng 55.00
8. Gjermund Braaten 18.00