Yesterday marked the first day of X Games Aspen 2013. The weather even changed for the occasion—a sky that’s been blue for more than a week turned grey and snow started falling in the evening.
Today’s competition included the Men's Ski SuperPipe Eliminations, Men's Snowboard SlopeStyle Eliminations, Men's Snowboard SuperPipe Eliminations and the Snowmobile Freestyle Final.
During the Snowboard Slopestyle elimination round at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado, Mark McMorris earned the highest qualifying score (88.66), while five-time X Games Slopestyle champion Shaun White finished seventh (67.33), just making finals. Peetu Piiroinen qualified second with an 81.33, while X Games rookie Max Parrot was third (75.66). Eight of the 16 competitors moved on to the final, with a number of big names like Torstein Horgmo and Sebastien Toutant missing the cut.
In the Men’s Ski Superpipe Elimination’s 16 invited athletes faced off in a best-of-two-runs format, with the top eight finishers advancing to the final. 2012 X Games superpipe champion David Wise qualified first, stomping a solid first run (rightside 7, switch left 7, rightside 9, double cork 12, alley-oop flatspin 5). On his second run, he added a switch double in place of the switch left 7 and scored a 92.
Aspen’s Torin Yater-Wallace, who is competing for the first time since recovering from shoulder surgery, qualified second. Rounding out the top three today was Flying Frenchmen Kevin Rolland. Joffrey Pollet-Villard, Benoit Valentin, Aaron Blunck, Tucker Perkins and Simon Dumont also qualified.
“The pipe was good,” said Dumont. “The light got really flat, but everyone was dealing with the same thing. I had my worst two runs of the day in qualifiers, but I made it through.”
Tanner Hall, who is competing at X Games for the first time since his injuries in 2009, didn’t make the cut.
In Men’s Snowboard Superpipe Elimintaions, Shaun White qualified second Thursday night, one-third of a point behind Swiss rider Iouri Podladtchikov. Scotty Lago qualified third.
In women’s snowboarding news, four-time X Games Aspen Snowboard SuperPipe champion and hometown favorite Gretchen Bleiler withdrew from competition Wednesday night due to side effects from a training injury last summer.
The first medal of X Games Aspen 2013 went to Levi LaVallee who won the Snowmobile Freestyle final Thursday night with a huge “kiss-of-death” flip. Joe Parsons took silver and Justin Hoyer won the bronze.
On tap for tomorrow (Friday, January 25): Men’s Ski Slopestyle Elimination, Snowboard Street Final, Women's Ski SuperPipe Final, Snowboard Big Air Final and Men's Ski SuperPipe Final.
Catch X Games Aspen live on ABC and ESPN, January 24 - 27, 2013. For the full telecast schedule check your local listings, or visit www.xgames.com.