You all saw the face-plant Shaun took during pipe practice, right?
Holy crow. Shaun tested the waters during final’s practice on his famed double-cork 1260 that he had held back during last night’s qualifiers, and he ended up having a serious make-out session with the lip of the pipe.
“I like the hair flip right here” Louie Vito told Shaun as they watched the slow-motion replay of the crash together. “[That's] when I know you’re o.k.” The tiny dancer’s comment wins my vote as the best line of the night, bar-none.
“The Flying Tomato”… er… “The Animal” (as he reportedly prefers to be called these days) walked away with only a scratch on his chinny-chin-chin, joining Simon Dumont in this year’s Winter X Games 14 “Man-of-Steel” category. White got right back in the saddle and stomped the double-McTwelve in his next practice runs. Snowboard industry personality Dave Shiff tweeted a new bid for Shaun’s nick-name after the crash, the “decking raspberry.”
Shaun continued to outwit his facial raspberry and the fact that he was seeing stars by winning the competition with ease. Even injured, he isn’t a match for. The game-changer of the night came from overseas, when Iouri “iPod” Podlatchikov and Kazuhiro “Kazu” Kokubo took second and third respectively.
What did we learn from the Winter X Games superpipe that we can carry into Vancouver’s Olympics? Well, that Shaun’s a gazillion years ahead of anyone else in talent and progression, that Shaun will most likely win the Olympics, that an American podium sweep isn’t guaranteed, and that ESPN may have blown their load by airing Men’s Superpipe Finals on Friday (when no one watches TV anyway) instead of keeping people tuned in until Sunday night. It is the Shaun White Games after all, now who are we supposed to care about?
Let’s all turn our attention to other super-pro’s… like Snowboarder Magazine’s“Rookie of the Year” Halldor Helgason or Mikkel (pronounced like nickel, as in five cents) Bang who both qualified top-seed in the Men’s Slopestyle qualifiers today. It’s amazing how Scandinavian dominated the snowboard slopestyle scene is. Must be something in their water?
A few American’s snuck into the mix, including Chas Guldemond, Sage Kotsenburg, Eric Willet and Jersey Shore’s (the place, not the show) Tim Humphreys, which means Sunday afternoon’s snowboard slopestyle finals are going is going to be a full-on match up between the U.S. of A (f#!k yeah) and the Scando’s.
Breck local Jen Hudak flipped the switch in Women’s Ski superpipe finals, besting everyone’s top-pick for the first place finish when she topped young buck Megan Gunning for the win. Long-timer Sarah Burke, who barely squeezed into finals, finished last, which is making some wonder if her competitive days are coming to an end. Even more so when she took the mic after competition and started hosting the Ski Big Air Finals. In her defense though, Sarah broke her back at last year’s X Games, and must have overcome some serious demon’s to compete here this year.
ESPN figured out that letting the American fans text in votes for the Big Air winners didn’t make that much sense, especially when they pinned one American against a bunch of Europeans with funny-sounding names (and considering that no other countries were able to vote… and were probably sleeping during the live text vote time period). This year they brought back real-live judges for the ski and snowboarding big air comps, and hedged five riders against each other in a jam style format.
This resulted in one progressive banger after another being laid down for a solid 20 minutes, and it was Bobby Brown and T.J. Schiller that were one-uping each other trick after trick. Even though Schiller pulled out the never-before-done 1620 (four and a half rotations), it was Brown’s switch double-misty mute 1440 that won the judges hearts. He got the first-ever perfect score of 100 out of a possible 100, something snowboarding’s Shaun White was hoping to achieve first. Skiers 1, snowboarders 0.
The scene to be seen at last night was at the Galerie DeVore where the launch of Travis Rice’s newest project, Asymbol.com, took place. Unlike private mansions like the Target Chalet, the Oakley house, and Monster house or the Nike 6.0 house, the Galerie DeVore will stay open to the public until Monday at 520 E. Durant Avenue in Aspen… or you can head on over to www.asymbol.com and appreciate more of Travis’ genius as he brings together some of the most talented action sports artists and photographers in the biz.
Want to see a preview of what’s coming up tomorrow on the party front? Check this twitpic from Frank 151 and Snowboard Mag’s @larrynunez
Mantle photo credit: Matt Morning/Shazamm/ESPN Images