[If words aren't your cuppa, make sure your head over to watch the podium X Games slopestyle runs.]
After a spectacular pipe final yesterday - see the medal winning runs here, Tignes was ready for the slopstyle - men's and women's finals. Triples were on the menu, obviously...
This time round it was boys for once, who got to open up the day on a course that have been described as mellow but fun to ride by most of the riders out there. Proof is, Chas Guldemond, who didn't make the cut, was still practicing with the finalists with a big smile on his face.
So Stale Sandbech is up first, goes smooth on the two sets of rails but takes a hard slam on the bigger kicker (second one), on an early triple attempt. No round of observation or calculation here! Same deal for Kostenburg, also bailing a 12 on the second kicker.
Gjermund Braaten is the first one to put down a complete run: Cab double 9, front 10, back 12 on the kickers, and first provisory place. Peetu who strategically kept his strength for the slope today - and didn't enter the pipe final yesterday for this purpose - strikes hard on his first run, especially on the kickers, 3 huge tricks down the two third of the landing, in particular on a pretty sick Front 12.
Seb Toots starts tech on the first rail, switch hard way 270, then sends it hard on the kickers: Cab 12, back 10, front 10 dub, with a bit of a hand drag. Enough to get him 88 points, and goes straight in first place, in front of Peetu (82) and Braaten (78).
Mark McMorris, the bookie's favorite, has maybe a bit of pressure on his shoulders - after the qualis were dominated by Torstein, and also because he's expect to win. Mark also, bails on the second booter, going yet again for a triple. Torstein Horgmo goes also clean on the rails, before back 12, then he goes for back triple 14 on the second kicker but the compression sent him on his ass.
Second round, Stale and Sage can't really improve they score and have a hard time with that second main feature it seems. Braaten puts down another very solid run, on the opposite of Willett, who only manage to land his switch back 12 on the second booter.
Peetu was obviously determined to improve, and he does, even on the amplitude… Until a failed backside 1440. But, hey, Toots second run? Just impressive. All the riders are cheering for that sick run, and the judges like it as well: 95 points, securing his first place. Switch hard way BS 270, Cab 12, and the sickest trick of the day back 14 that some people might call a triple!
That is when McMorris stomped the second triple of the day on the main jump, with style and amplitude. Shame for him, his first landing wasn't super clean and doesn't beat Toots score, for the moment anyway. Torstein, closing this second round, goes for the triple but bails it - nearly landing flat down the bottom.
Final round for everyone, and Stale also goes for a triple on the main jump and goes down too short. Nollie front flip on the knuckle of the final kicker and a cheer to the crowd, Sandbech is out with the honors. Sage, sitting in fourth at this moment, knows he's gonna have to send this triple, but doesn't land clean on the first booter. Same deal for Braaten , he won't improve either. Willett does improve and slip in fourth.
Peetu follows the rules of this third round and can't put another clean run, still in third. Seb Toots is in the box, with a bit of understandable pressure - although probably not as much as McMorris who has to drop right after him. No real bail here for him, but not his best run either. He stays at 95.
Just before McMorris' run, we learned that Horgmo wouldn't go for his last lap. That low landing on the second run obviously didn't sit well with his right ankle… So it's now only McMorris who can beat his fellow Canadian.
Mark knows it, he's gonna have to throw down the hammers. Switch BS 270 on, 270 off, Cab 12, triple back and BS 10. But… He pays for a bit of a scrap on this Cab 12. The score comes: 94. It's a wrap, Gold and Silver go to Canada but in a different order this time, Seb Toots wins the Euro X Games slopestyle title and the two bros fall in the arms of each other. Peetu score yet another podium.
Next up: the girl's finals, with an obvious favorite, Jamie Anderson.