In January, a nagging ankle injury sidelined Shaun White from the slopestyle competition at the X Games in Aspen. The next night, the ailment seemed to subside and White went on to earn the first perfect score in superpipe history.
Following this, many questioned whether the ankle injury was the culprit that kept White out of competition or if nerves played a part. Prior to that contest, he hadn’t placed in slopestyle since 2009, and even failed to make the finals in both slope events he entered in 2011.
But winning is simply in White’s nature, so when he started to slip behind in slope, he knew what he had to do. White has made it his mission to learn knew tricks and was spotted perfecting them in Breckenridge, Keystone, and Northstar throughout this season.
His tenacious training and desire to be the best paid off at the Winter X Games in Tignes, France.
White made a triumphant debut in Tignes, and stomped a run that included included three double corks, including a switch double cork 1080 and two double cork 1260s, for a top score of 97.
Following the contest White said, “I think I’ve finally caught up and I’m happy to be back.”
Mark McMorris and Eric Willett rounded out the podium. McMorris stomped a run that included frontside cab 1080 and a frontside double cork 1080, and Willett stomped two double cork 1080s and threw down on the rail sections.
After falling in his first two runs, Willett rallied to take third with his last. Following the event he stated, “I’m happy to make the podium but I think one of the Norwegians should have been in my place — they both rode so well. But I’m stoked I was able to keep my podium streak here.”
On the women’s side of things Jamie Anderson continued her dominating ways. The 21-year old Tahoe Native scored a 98 on her second run that featured a cab 270 to boardslide and a tail blunt in the rail section, cab 7, back 5, front 7, and ended with a tail blunt 270.
Anderson has been upping ante all season, and her performance at Euro X proved she is progressing the sport.
Spencer O’Brien also rode extremely well and earned second with a run that included backside 5, switch back 5, and front 7.
Enni Rukajarvi took third after stomping a back 5, a cab 5, and a front 7.
As the sun begins to set over the Alps, the third annual Winter X Games Tignes comes to close, marking the last major Slopestyle contest of the 2011-2012 season.
Watch white’s winning run:
Jamie Anderson’s winning run:
Photos: John Weaver, Vans Snow