There'll be a few aches and pains amongst the halfpipe competitors at the 2017 Burton US Open today. A few riders crunched themselves on the top deck, especially by the second run of the men's event as most chose to go for broke.
The body count was less high in the women's event, where the Americans dominated on home turf. Once again it was Chloe Kim leading the charge; despite not looking her best, she managed to post the highest score of the day on her first attempt. Rival/mentor Kelly Clark took third, with Maddie Mastro in second.
"There were around half a dozen massive slams at the same section of wall"
Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Hannah Teter showed she could still pose a threat, but unfortunately her runs didn't come together well enough to make the final. With Haruna Matsumoto, Sena Tomita and X Games champ Elena Kuntz-Hight taking the other three spots, only American and Japanese riders will be gunning for medals on Saturday.
As for the men's event, you know it's a stacked field when Danny Davis only just scrapes through to the final by the skin of his teeth. Recently he'd been favouring pow over pipe training, a tactic that worked in the past (two back-to-back X Games medals) but may be harder to get away with in this era of the superhuman.
Just look at that highlight reel above; everyone was absolutely flying. Taku Hiraoka, Kent Callister and Matt Ladley looked good at the top, but failed to stay in the top 10. Scotty James, cementing 2017 as his finest year to date, qualified in first ahead of Shaun White, with Ayumu Hirano in third and Iouri Podlatchikov a little further behind.
"If semis were anything to go by, the final will be an absolute must-watch"
Ben Ferguson was among the riders who got caught out on the fifth hit, so he too missed out. There were around half a dozen massive slams at the same section of wall, occasionally featuring the sight of a detached goggle lens arcing through the air.
Perhaps influenced by the sight of his peers sloping off to put bags of frozen peas on their rear ends, Shaun decided that second place would be good enough, and opted to throw away his last run. Scotty, on his victory lap, did likewise. They'll be back on Saturday for the final, and if semis were anything to go by, it'll be an absolute must-watch.
Slopestyle finals begin tonight at 7.10pm CET - follow all the action on the Burton US Open livestream.