By James Sullivan
When Americans think of Norway, three things come to mind: vikings, ski jumping and being home to some of the world’s most beautiful women. Fortunately for the massive crowd of Winter Dew Tour fans gathered to witness Saturday’s Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final, archetypal run-off wasn’t the only thing on people’s minds. Enter Torstein Horgmo.
In a near-perfect first run, the bourgeoning mega pro managed to eclipse the crowd favorite, Shaun White, by sticking a flawless switch backside 1260 over the final “money booter,” much to the delight of drama-drunk commentators and onlookers alike.
“I had planned my whole run except the last jump,” recalled Horgmo among the swarm of media at the awards ceremony. “I wanted to see how much speed I had going into it. It’s the biggest jump of the course but it's still not really that big for doing a 1260," Horgmo said. "You need a lot of speed for the 1260 and I need my time to make it feel good and it usually looks good that way too.”
Torstein wasn’t the only Norwegian looking good to the judges. Countrymen Andreas Wiig and Mikkel Bang also brought their A-games, unleashing a slew of high-risk tricks that landed in them in third and fourth place, respectively. The 18-year-old Bang, who nearly won the previous Slope Final in Breck, rolled a couple of front boards out of the gate into a cab 9 off the first hit, a back rodeo off the second, followed by a switch backside lipslide on the down rail, a switch backside 900 off the second to last jump to a frontside 1080 finale.
Andreas Wiig’s high score of 88.00 was achieved by exiting the first jib via a backside 270 out. He then followed with a boardslide to fakie out, cab 900, backside 900 rodeo, switch boardslide on the down rail and capped with a switch backside 900 and frontside 1080. All smiles after his run, Wiig apparently had more to give. "The course was sick, though the jumps could've been a little bigger…I would've liked to have grabbed a bit longer," he said.
Despite the triple-threat, the long odds of a Norwegian podium-sweep were foiled by top-qualifier Shaun White. Ever the favorite, White assembled one of the most technical run of the day, which included a boardslide 270 out, nose/front board combo, cab 900, 50-50 to backside rodeo 5 off the canon, cab 270 to frontside boardslide, switch backside 900, and a frontside 1080 stalefish. Sadly for White, who maintains his overall lead in the tour slopestyle standings from his win in Breckenridge, the judges opted to favor Torstein’s rotations over White’s crowd appeal; though one would never know it judging by the mob of fans who corned White for an hour-long impromptu autograph session after the Final.
For his part, Torstein was pleased with the results. “I'm happy about my riding today. Today was just my moment," he said. "I still didn’t feel like I beat anyone today. I’m pretty much just out to beat myself at every contest, so I’m stoked."