Words: Pat Bridges Photos: Mike Yoshida
Slopestyle’s nighttime debut at Winter X was an exciting affair to say the least. Despite disappointing daytime practice and semi-finals the 8 men who made the big event reveled in the ability to take to the evening setup with speed and easily spot their landings. Ultimately a young rider from Regina, Saskatchewan bested the field and earned his second Winter X 16 gold in as many events, improving upon the solo silver he took home in 2011.
In the first run several riders started firing right out of the gate. A flurry of falls made it look like this event could come down to who can play the conservative strategy to its limit. That was until Big Air Gold winner Sebastien Toutant dropped in and set down a flawless run that some believe was one of the best of the night. Unfortunately Sebs double cork combos didn’t resonate with the judges and he was presented with a score of 83 and change for his efforts, enough for the early lead until the next competitor dropped.
Mark McMorris set the pace with his first run score of 90 and then upped that figure in run two. Mark’s jib line up top was a gap to 180 onto the cargo deck to cab 270 wall ride off followed by a front blunt to 450 on the next feature. From there McMorris sent it off the jumps with a cab double cork 900, frontside double cork 1080, a double wildcat and a back 1260. This combo earned him his second X Games 16 Gold.
Second place went to Sage Kotsenberg for his third run which included both a cab double cork 1260 and a backside double cork 1260. Taking the final spot on the podium was 2010 Olympic halfpipe Silver Medallist Peetu Piiorinen.
Check back soon for the results, photos and breakdown of the halfpipe main event where Kazuhiro, Vito, White, Bretz, Mitrani and more will pull out all the stops to take home the biggest prize of the weekend.