A proud member of Team Canada, Mark McMorris will be competing in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Games. To stay up on the latest from Mark and the other Dew Tour athletes, keep it locked on NBCOlympics.com.
All eyes were on the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Final today, the capstone competition sealing off a wild week of competition at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado. The competition went down under pristine bluebird conditions with fans lining the bottom of the course.
The mountain came to life today as the riders took their talents to unprecedented heights. With the iON Mountain Championships being named an USSA-sanctioned selection event, the competition was especially fierce for the U.S. athletes who were not only competing for the Dew Tour title, but also for a slot on the U.S. Olympic Snowboarding Team
The competition was unparalleled today as the 16 elite riders pulled out all the stops in hopes of chiseling his name into Dew Tour history.
Without warning, Shaun White was not present during today’s final despite qualifying first. However, right as the event began, White hit his social media with a tweet letting his fans know he pulled out due to an ankle sprain he re-aggravated during the Snowboard Superpipe Final.
With White out of the running, there was no question that defending Dew Tour slopestyle champion, Mark McMorris, would be the man to beat. McMorris dropped in for his first run ready to stomp it clean, affording him a safety net for his second run; different from his qualifying performance, where, in his words, he scared himself with an “uncharacteristic” fall.
McMorris did not disappoint and nailed a near perfect run on his first go. His run started off with a hardway backside 270 to 270 out on the first rail, a cab 270 on the second rail, to cab double cork 1260 and a frontside 1080 double cork on the top two jumps before hitting the chicken coop and second jib leaving him with his signature straight double backflip, aka the wildcat, and a backside 1080 double cork.
"I was going at the last jump not sure what I wanted to do exactly, a double [cork] or a triple [cork], but if I'm not at the head of the pack going into my second run I'm definitely going to have to go for it."
Chas Guldemond was undoubtedly the top American in the event and it showed after his first run, which landed him in 4th at the end of the first round. Going into his second run, Guldemond knew he could improve upong his first run, saying, "I'm definitely going to try and clean up my backside rodeo and hopefully step up to a switch back 1260 on the first jump instead of a 900."
Like a true professional, Guldemond doesn't allow unnecessary, outside pressures affect his mental edge.
"I guess you could put pressure on it, but really I'm just doing my thing. I've been doing this for eight years; I'm just lucky to be in the final. I'm here to cheer on my friends and do my best to get on the podium.
Coming into the second set of runs, we saw Maxence Parrot take a run that landed him in the second place position, just behind Sweden’s Sven Thorgren, which made for three Canadians in the top four. Parrot has a history of upsetting riders from around the world in slopestyle events and today’s event was making for another opportunity for him to find the podium. However, the event was far from over.
One thing was for sure, McMorris was going to leave nothing to chance and despite still leading the pack he stepped his game up. Swapping out his final hit on the course from a 1080 double cork to an outrageous 1440 triple cork! McMorris bumped his already top score from a 95 flat to a staggering 97.80. Following his score being posted, the onsite announcers couldn’t help but shout out to the competition they were now fighting for second. True or not, McMorris’ second run had the rest of the field intimidated.
“I had nothing to lose,” said McMorris after stomping the triple cork and upping his score. “I told myself everything was going perfect and I had to do a triple.”
In the end, his intimidation definitely sunk in on the competition and the top three remained the same.
Despite no Americans on the podium, the USSA points were still dispersed throughout the American athletes. The Top American for the day was none other than Guldemond who commented on the scenario, “It’s kind of bittersweet. I’m top for the U.S., which is good for me but I’m frustrated I didn’t put down my second run. It’s an exciting day. Now, the race is on for all of the Americans to earn as many top finishes and valuable USSA points in order to secure a spot on the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team. Follow your favorite riders all season and see who makes it all the way to Sochi.
Be sure to check back shortly for a photo gallery posted to the top of this article.
1st Place - Mark McMorris
2nd Place – Sven Thorgren
3rd Place - Maxence Parrot
4th Place – Sebastien Toutant
5th Place –Chas Guldemond
6th Place – Sage Kotsenburg
7th Place – Brandon Davis
8th Place – Spencer Link
9th Place – Eric Willett
10th Place – Eric Beauchemin
11th Place – Ulrik Badertscher
12th Place – Nikolas Baden
13th Place – Stale Sandbech
14th Place – Aleksander Ostreng
15th Place – Gjermund Braaten
15th Place – Peetu Piiroinen
DNS – Shaun White