OK so last night’s halfpipe win was all but inevitable, but really, after the Aspen ‘injury’ fiasco, we weren’t really expecting this. Ever since he got knocked out before the finals stage at last year’s X Games slopestyle, there’s been a lot of chat about how Shaun White couldn’t keep up. With the Toutants and McMorrises of this world taking slopestyle riding to the next level, perhaps Shaun would have to settle for being a halfpipe specialist? He told us when he came to London late last year that he was keen to go for the slopestyle gold at Sochi in 2014, but his non-entry in this year’s US Open slopestyle suggested that he didn’t think he had what it took to win… at least yet.
But this morning, on a bright sunny day in Tignes, Shaun posted a near-perfect score of 95 with his first run, only to better it with a 97 on his second. No-one else came close, and despite arguably more stylish runs from Mark McMorris and Eric Willet (who claimed 2nd and 3rd respectively) there was nothing anyone could really do. We’d be willing to bet that this is just the start for Shaun – he can probably smell the gold of that slopestyle medal already. Of course it remains to be seen how Toutant, Willet, McMorris and co will take his return to the discipline, and the next two years could be properly exciting as they look for ways to beat him. Honestly though, his competitive streak is such that if you can find a bookies offering decent odds on Shaun doing a double at Sochi, our advice would be to head down there sharpish.