In January most of the snowboarding world was gearing up for the Olympics, with crazy qualifying round after crazy qualifying round. A lot of the hype – as usual – was over Shaun White and his quest for total domination over the two freestyle events, there was drama as he had one of the slams of the season in one US Grand Prix before eventually coming out on top in the US for both halfpipe and slopestyle despite picking and choosing when exactly he would be competing. Right behind him in slopestyle though was the dark horse, Sage Kotsenburg…
The Brits had a great run up to Sochi, with Bill;y Morgan pipping the whole field at the Breckenridge Grand Prix, just before the event finals got cancelled… His bad luck continued into the X-Games where despite putting down the first ever back-to-back triple corks in practice he missed out on the finals by one spot. No matter though, he and the rest of Team GB had comfortably qualified to go to Russia by the end of the month.
With the Flying Tomato noticeably absent from the X-Games proceedings, the build up did feel a bit like a hollow warm up to the ‘Lympics, that is until it got underway, throwing up one unexpected result after another: Mark McMorris broke a rib in slopestyle and lost out to fellow Canuck Max Parrot, who went on to take gold in Big Air too (an event described as “never go full rotard” by Todd Richards); Silje Norendal comfortably beat women’s favourite Jamie Anderson in slopestyle and then in a dramatic halfpipe final iPod failed to land his signature YOLO flip and ceded to win to a stylish-looking Danny Davis. Then, as if all that wasn’t enough, the Real Snow voting event was called off as it turned out there had been some ballot tampering by one of the final two competitors… The one that wasn’t a Helgason.
Away from the park scene though, another Brit was making waves: after being the oldest to qualify for the Freeride World Tour by a good ten years, Sascha Haam finished second at the first freeride event of the year in Chamonix, an amazing result by all accounts!