Peetu Piiroinen. Photo: Chris Wellhausen
So the slopestyle turned out a lot better than it could have.
With wintery conditions persisting all morning, as the women were readying for the slope finals things were looking nasty. The female skiers were first up yesterday and played the role of guinea pigs on the course. They didn't fare well.
It was dumping and the slope run was slow. So slow that a lot of the girls were knuckling. Rumor was one girl dislocated a knee, and as we rode the lift up to the top of the run to check out the shreds, we saw one girl who was being attended to by a half-dozen medics in the landing of the last jump.
The vibe at the top of the course was serious. With just six girls in the finals there weren't too many lurking around the "Athlete Staging" tent. But those that were there were throwing a lot of high fives, encouraging words and "I love you's". These girls are serious competitors, but they're friends first and all about hyping each other up. And they need all the positive vibrations they could get. The weather was clearing up, it'd more or less stopped snowing, but the course still had it's tricky sections. With all the new snow all the landing were getting pretty rutted and bumped out. But the girls kept their heads down and put up some solid runs.
Relative rookie Megan Ginter was charging, throwing massive back threes and one back seven. Her efforts would earn her a bronze in this her second X-Games appearance. Spencer O'Brien was throwing down some serious runs, maybe the smoothest of the day. But, Spencer fell on her last run and left the door open for the Brit Jenny Jones. And Jones stepped-up, dropped in and hammered out one helluva run, which ended with a front seven and earned her the gold.
And then...as soon as the women were done the dudes were taking a few practice runs. The warm-ups were ridiculous. The dudes handled the course like they were mini-shredding. It looked like a video, or really a video game.
Shaun qualified 8th which meant he was first to drop, which meant he'd have to put up he best runs and just hope he didn't get bumped out by all the remaining riders. He only posted a 50 point first run, but came back on his second and put up a 96. And that run would stand as the best of the day and Shaun's ticket to X-Games gold. Lago was hot on his tail and stomped two clean runs, but only got 94.66 from the judges. Mikkel Bang followed these two and ended up taking third with a best run score of 91.33.
Spencer O'Brien: 87.66
Megan Ginter: 82.00
Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas: 75.00
Hana Beaman: 65.33
Kimmy Fasani: 64.00
Shaun White: 96
Scotty Lago: 94.66
Mikkel Bang: 91.33
Chas Guldemond: 91
Andreas Wiig: 89.00
Tim Humphreys: 88.66