PHOTOS: Aaron Blatt
Over the years as a spectator, my favorite event to watch has always been slopestyle. I don’t really know what it is, but something about watching people ride a massive snowboard park always got my goat. I’ll be honest with you, I hadn’t really watched the X games 16 in a few years up until this year. The last time I really paid attention, Kevin Jones was doing 450’s onto a simple down flat rail, and Peter Line was winning. Boy have things changed…
The course at X this year was insane. It started off with a crazy wallride feature, and was followed by a giant rail gap set up. After the rails were 4 crazy jumps that were so close to each other that if you didn’t land completely perfect you were screwed for the rest of the course. Pretty heavy, but that wasn’t what made this course one of the most difficult slope courses in history. The day before men’s eliminations, and women’s finals it snowed 7 inches. So now, not only did the guys and girls have to worry about landing perfectly, they also had to worry about keeping their speed with the fresh snow.
During Thursday’s event people knuckled. I’ll be honest with you all, not a lot of people made it all the way through the course. It was strange seeing riders like Mikkel Bang, and Tyler Flanagen not make it all the way through a slope course. But, every dog has it’s day, and it can’t be everyone’s day all the time. Only 8 riders were able to make it, and leading that charge was Mark McMorris. Following him was Torstein Horgmo, Seb Toots, Gjermund Braaten, Eric Willet, Seppe Smits, Peetu Piiroinen, and Sage Kotsenburg. It was a rough day for Sage, he was on the bubble all day, and barley squeaked by. Those 8 riders would be the ones to make it to the finals under the lights.
The Women had a rough time on the course. It was rough. It was really hard for the ladies to make it all the way through the course. Girls were going face to face with the knuckle left and right. Silje Norendal was the 1st girl to almost make it all the way through the course, but the last jump took her down. In fact only one girl was able to spin over all of the jumps, and that girl was Jamie Anderson. She made her way through all of the jumps with sw back 5’s, sw back 180’s and other tricks with ease. It was simple to see why she was the winner. Following Jamie in 2nd place was Enni Rukajarvi, and in 3rd place was Kjersti Buaas.
The Men’s final was like night and day from the eliminations. Literally, it was at night. It also was freezing cold, and it was fast as hell. The dudes were sending it. It seems like in 2012 if you aren’t doing a run with at least 4 double corks, you should just sit down. There’s no way you are going to win. Sage Kotsenburg did a run with 2 1260’s and 2 1080’s and he got 2nd place. That’s how crazy things have gotten.
Mark McMorris came out on top in this year’s slopestyle. It was easy to see from the beginning when his 1st run put him in 1st place. This contest was clearly his for the taking. To top it off he even got to do a victory lap, and he got to show off his killer methods. Man he has a good method. Sage Kotsenburg got 2nd, which he rightfully deserved (Sage also took the Wildcard invite to the Travis Rice Red Bull Supernatural) and Peetu Piiroinen got 3rd, which is sick, because Peetu is the only dude to be in the Superpipe contest too.
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