The UK's Billy Morgan steps up to take first place in this morning's Men's Slopestyle Semis ahead of Sage Kotsenburg, Mark McMorris and Yuki Kadono. Finals start 9.45am CET, get involved with our Slopestyle Final Live Blog!
The Slopestyle Semis gave all the riders that didn't make it direct into today's finals another bite at the cherry, with the top 4 earning a ticket to potential podium delerium. But it was clearly a pressure-cooker situation and, with only two runs to impress, some riders stepped their game up while others wilted.
All the talk after the Qualifiers was of how Mark McMorris - aka McRib aka McRobbed - had been short changed by the judges, and after taking a fall on his first run was winking sphincter time for the Canadian. He managed to put down a good un on his second, but again was left with a baffled look on his face as he only scored 89.25 for a big clean run with a stomped triple 14 to finish. There's some talk about his rails not being so tech, his cab double 9 not so hard, and his mute grabs too repetitive, but it still seemed a little harsh to us.
Yuki Kadono was out the gates early and slid into first for a while with a strong first run. Cab hardway 270, boardslide, to front blunt 270, front 5 doll bonk, cab 12, front 10, finished off with a back double 12. He was looking to up the ante on his second run, but popped a back 14 double on the last hit that he only just squeaked round.
Sage Kotsenburg - a dude who looks like he's on a one-man mission to show the world that snowboarding is actually fun - bossed it with his unique style, tripodding into back 180s off the canon, hurling cab double 12 Japans with gay abandon, and pulling front 10 double nose grabs like it ain't no thang. Thanks for keeping it awesome, Sage.
But first place in the semis went to Britain's Billy Morgan. The dude is riding with a knee held together with string, duct tape and superglue but that wasn't holding him back as he grabbed hold of first place after his first run and didn't let go. Cab 270 on 270 off, boardslide, front 3 off, front blunt 270 off, back rodeo off the cannon, cab double underflip 9, front double 10, back triple 14 was good enough for 90.75 and a first place he wouldn't relinquish.
He even looked to step it up on his second, adding a cab triple on his first jump, but though he stomped that one he couldn't put down his front 10 double properly and reverted out. Not a bad idea to use the run where he'd already qualified to ease his way into a run with two triples in, though. Smart move.
Finals kick off in 45 minutes, so see you on our Men's Slopestyle Finals Live blog. Get involved with the chat!