Whitelines does it's best Guardian live blog impression with this minute-by-minute, run-by-run account of one of the most highly anticipated events of the 2013 Winter X-Games.
For those of you that are away from your TVs/computers or are unable to watch this thing live, you can stay up to date with the action right here on Whitelines. Why not have this blog open and add your comments at the bottom of the post? We'll incorporate the best ones into this article once the event wraps up.
Ok, lets set the scene a little. Last Thursday, sixteen of the world's best meat huckers assembled atop a slopestyle course that has since grown to become iconic in the competitive snowboarding world. Millions across the world tune in to watch X Games slopestyle and it's pretty much the biggest stage for freestyle snowboarding, second only to the Olympics.
As is always the case, in part thanks to some very clever hyping from the marketing team over at ESPN, the X Games is rarely free from drama and this year has been no exception. Shaun White, who has dominated the superpipe for the best part of a decade, is hungrier than ever to be the best at slopestyle as well. That of course is no easy feat, particularly when he's up against guys that have been focusing all of their energy on mastering the discipline. Mark McMorris is arguably the best slopestyle rider in the world right now and will ride today to defend his 2012 slopestyle gold medal. Turns out that Mark doesn't think too highly of Shaun's style either, but even though he triumphed over Shaun in the qualification stage, he may find himself eating his words if Shaun really steps it up today.
As it stands, while plenty have been stomped in big air competitions (last night's was definitely no exception), a triple cork has never been landed in a slopestyle run. Both Shaun and Mark McMorris had been trying the trick in practice and we'd be willing to bet our left nut that we'll be seeing a handful of triples today. Maxence Parrot has also been stomping them clean as a whistle so look out for him to chuck one too.
THE START LIST:
Here's the list of the riders who'll be dropping in this evening, along with their scores from the qualifying stages.
Qualifying in first place with a relatively safe run by his own standards, Mark McMorris surely heads into this as the favourite to win. However, being the competitor that he is, there's no way Shaun White is gonna let Mark coast his way to that gold medal either. And let's not forget about the other six riders. Chas Guldemond is always a dark horse and certainly knows how to put together a solid run, while Peetu Piiroinen will undoubtedly be going huge. But will this all boil down to a battle of who can put down the cleanest triple cork over the money booter? You'll have to tune in just under 20 minutes time to find out...
So that's a wrap on a predictably triple cork filled X Games men's Slopestyle. Mark McMorris takes the gold for the second year running with Maxence Parrot in second and Seppe Smits in third. Other than Mark's final run, most of the best runs were thrown down in an explosive first round. Shaun White ultimately fell short on the day and uncharacteristically didn't even come close to living up to the amount of hype surrounding him. He'll definitely be looking for redemption in tomorrow's pipe comp and looking a little further afield, at X-Games Europe slopestyle.
And so it's a victory run for Mark McMorris who wins his second X-Games slopestyle in a row. No cruisy straight air run either as he puts down the highest ever scoring slopestyle run in X-Games history (98). The kid is a beast.
Peetu Piiroinen drops in as the last rider that can change the current podium standings after Max Parrot doesn't improve his current second place score of 90. Peetu puts down a solid run but no triple and not a massive score.
Promising run for Seppe until the final kicker where it looks like he opens up to land a backside double cork rather than staying tucked for a triple. He's still sitting in third place, so no improvement there.
Gnarly knuckle for Chas Guldemond. No cigar for the American.
Alek Oestreng just sent it over the money booter with a huge triple attempt. Takes a nasty looking slam in the process but is all good.
And it's all over for Shaun White! Scuffs his first rail hit and it was all downhill from there onwards. Uncharacteristic mistakes from Shaun, and he's bummed no doubt.
Third and final runs about to kick off. Current standings: Mark McMorris 1st, Max Parrot 2nd, Seppe Smits 3rd. Shaun White with a lot of work to do.
A shot of Shaun White in an ice bath straight into another one of those damn America's Navy ads. And we thought that Go Compare chap was annoying.
McMorris unable to hold onto his run either. Those first runs were freakishly strong weren't they? Riders will definitely be looking to step it up a level in their final runs.
Peetu stomps a sick Billy Morgan-esque double backside rodeo but isn't quite able to hold onto his run at the bottom of the course.
Holy shit! Did Maxence Parrot just attempt a triple backside 1620?
So close! Seppe Smits totally bosses the first half of the course but just scuffs the landing on his triple cork attempt on the money booter. Flat light conditions out there in Aspen today - Seppe and the others are apparently struggling to see the landings.
Is anyone else getting massively over those America's Navy commercials? Soo cheesy.
Chas Guldemond also struggling with his second run with a hand drag on the first kicker. Still manages to poke out a massive method on the final one though and put on a show for the spectators.
Bit of a butt-check for Mr. Oestreng in his second run. May the power of Thor be we with you sir!
Seriously? Shaun White didn't know who Mark McMorris was? You gotta be kidding us Kier, or Shaun really is hugely ignorant... Shaun uncharacteristically goes down attempting a switch backside double cork. Will have to step it up in this final run if he wants to challenge Mark, let alone get a spot on the podium.
Gjermund Braaten drops in for the first of the second runs. Stylish top rail section but takes a tumble on the third kicker. Shaun White is up next!
Phew! We get a chance to catch our breath while the some irritating American women rabbles on about Shaun.
Defending gold medallist Mark McMorris drops three doubles and a bolts backside triple 1440. These guys are hardly holding back in their first runs are they? Scores a whopping 94. Have we already seen the top three runs go down? We highly doubt it but you have to wonder if anyone will be able to top that run... Shaun's certainly got a lot to do to better it. Is his style on the rails letting him down?
Holy crap! Maxence Parrot just put down a run with a stomped backside triple cork 1440! We knew there would be triples but who would have thought there'd be so many in the first runs! A score of 90 has Max Parrot in first place.
Chas Guldemond has a stormer and is temporarily in first until Belgian Seppe Smits gets a score of 85 bumping Chas down a place.
Alek Oestreng puts down a solid first run, Chuck G on course right now.
So Shaun just chucked a triple in his first run. First slopestyle triple ever. No biggie. Score of 71 puts him in first.
Hello, good evening and welcome to our live blog! We've just had our first taste of Kier Dillon's distinctive drawl complete with lots of chat about those triple corks and we're already straight into a commercial break thanks to a 'technical issue'. Gotta love US broadcasting eh?