The hype machine had been running full speed ahead following videos of Shaun going for a triple cork on the money booter and Mark calling him out for having questionable style. However, with a run that definitely contained a zeach, a hand drag and a boot-grab or two (his stance is so damn wide that surely he can grab squarely between the feet like everyone else?), even the most loyal Shaun fans would agree that his run yesterday didn’t deserve to be placed any higher than 7th. Still, he did enough to qualify and will battle it out tomorrow alongside the other seven riders for a slice of X Games metal.
Mark McMorris proved to any of his doubters that he is still one of the great forces to be reckoned with in Slopestyle with a run that was as clean as Aldo Raine’s spit-shined boots. Super stylish rail tricks followed by no less than four perfect double cork variations – and all a relatively safe run by Mark’s standards.
Peetu Piiroinen, aka Mr. Consistent, put down a stormer of a run to qualify in second, sending it with the kind of amplitude that we’ve come to expect from the halfpipe and kicker destroying Finn. Hot off the heels from his win at the O’Neill Evolution in Davos, it was Maxence Parrot who rounded out the top three with a solid, stylish run. Interestingly, many other big names failed to make the cut with Roope Tonteri, Sebastien Toutant, Torstein Horgmo and Stale Sandbech all failing to put down runs that would see them through to the top eight.
Chas Guldemond is always somewhat of a dark horse and will definitely be one to watch come Saturday’s finals and Belgian Seppe Smits has been known to pull it out of the bag when it really matters. However, all the pundits are still pointing towards this being a battle between Shaun White and Mark McMorris and with triples being thrown in practice by both, you can’t help but wonder whether this will this ultimately boil down to who can stomp one on the day. We can’t wait.
Here’s the full results list from the qualifiers and it will be the top 8 who will ride in Saturday’s finals. Click the arrows next to each score to watch the runs: