Posts Tagged ‘Mark McMorris’

Saturday in Aspen was when the weather started to go south.  The early morning brought rain, which thankfully let up in time to go see Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle.  However, the slick conditions combined with overcast skies proved to be very tricky.

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle

  • The course was super fast so everybody was messing up their first attempts.  Except Eric Willet and Sebastian Toutant, who threw down a banger of a run that would get him silver.
  • Darcy Sharpe and Sage Kotsenburg had the best rail section, but unfortunately they couldn’t land all their jumps.
  • Mark McMorris had some strategy going into his second run: taking some speed checks so he could stay in control.  It paid off because that second run was solid gold.
  • Apparently Darcy’s mom had a dream that he and his sister (freeskier Cassie Sharpe) got X Games invites before they actually got them.  She went ahead and booked a flight and hotel that morning, and she almost regretted it because of the cost.  His impression of her was adorable.
  • Newcomer Mons Røisland had some bobbles, but his huge jumps on his last run allowed him to sneak past Eric into third.
  • Mark’s third run was his victory lap, and he ended with a solid method.

After slopestyle, my parents and I went back to town.  I had read in the paper that Colten Moore was doing reading and signing of his new book, Catching the Sky, at Explore Booksellers and wanted to see him.  Ironically, he did an event in Dallas in February too, but Aspen was way more convenient for me.  His friend (manager?) said I should go to both, haha. I got him to sign my Texas flag and a copy of Catching the Sky.
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I’m really sorry for lagging on these updates.  Life has been throwing curveballs ever since I got back from Aspen; I wasn’t even able to watch all the replays before ESPN took them down.  In any case, Friday was the most jam-packed day so I hope to be back to posting more regularly.

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Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle

  • The bummer about seeing Slopestyle in person is that you only get a view of the money booter, and if you’re not press or VIP, you’re way in the back.  Also annoying kids on the ski lift above us liked to purposely shake snow off their boards onto our heads.
  • Despite this, I enjoyed the atmosphere.  Everyone rode well.
  • Hayley Langland’s rail game was on point.
  • Spencer O’Brien got a well-deserved gold.
  • Later in the afternoon, I wound up meeting Christy Prior at the Lifeproof booth, and she said it was a really great day to ride.
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I was wondering how I could recap the iON Mountain Championships without just posting notes or doing another set of awards.  Then I realized that I didn’t have an easy-to-access place to save my Tweets.  The Dew Tour has really embraced social media, and I actually got a Twitter account so that I could participate.  Here’s what I had to say while I was watching last week (with some additional commentary).

Saturday
Spin tricks are impressive, but nothing makes me pause like a big stylish method. – in reference to Snowboard Superpipe

Oh man I can’t tell if my heart was pounding from anticipating Shaun White’s score or my heart meds just haven’t kicked in. – In the Superpipe finals, Shaun fell on his first run and was the last guy remaining who could defeat Greg Bretz.  He had some sick tricks and his usual high amplitude, but he was making mistakes so it was close.

Ladies are really styling in the pipe finals. I think the boys could learn a few things. – This Tweet actually got read on the livestream.  I freaked out when I realized it was me.  It was cool and a little mortifying because I’m not a snowboarder and Jack Mitrani was all “oooh”.  Because I yelled out and my partner rushed into see what was wrong, I missed the commentary. In any case, I stand by my Tweet.

Congrats to Torah Bright and Greg Bretz for their Superpipe wins!

C’mon Kevin, you can do it! – Kevin Rolland is on my Fantasy Freeride League team, and everyone had high hopes for him, but it wasn’t meant to be.

What an exciting end to the Ski Pipe finals. I’m glad I finished work to catch a bit of it.

David Wise, you deserved it for your killer runs. – In reply to his Tweet, “I can’t believe it! Thanks everyone for the support!”

Sunday

Bf was totally perplexed by Nick Goepper skiing with no poles. I told him it happens. 

No poles for a medical reason. That’s a new one. Hope his hand feels better!  – Nick was recovering from hand surgery and the brace prevented him from using poles.

What a gorgeous double flip. Congrats Nick Goepper on your Dew Tour win! – I hadn’t meant to only talk about him, but he was solid even without poles.

Mark McMorris is making me root for Team Canada in the Olympics.

He’s so casual for just having pulled a triple. – Social media asked for it, and Mark delivered.

Thankful that my bf rushed into the room to make sure I was ok after I yelled when Jack Mitrani and Andrew Cannon read my Tweet. – During a break, Andrew and Jack decided to ask viewers to Tweet what they were thankful for.  I had to mention that my shout of glee came out as sounding as though I had dropped something on my foot.  Andrew Cannon was amused by this.

What I would give to photograph Sage Kotsenburg’s Cab 12. That was beautiful! – It was a Cab 12 Japan actually.  So gorgeous, and I agree with the Twitterers who said he was underscored.

Final Thoughts
I want to also congratulate Maddie Bowman, Jamie Anderson, Devin Logan, and Mark McMorris on their first place finishes. With the Olympics coming up, everyone is bringing their A game, but I already have a couple of picks for gold.

Can we please let Greg Bretz have the spotlight? Although I made a comment on my facebook about Shaun White getting dethroned, the headlines featuring him and not Greg, as well as the fuss over him falling, was ridiculous.

I’d like to reiterate how awesome this social media initiative is. It puts fans closer to the pros, and we feed off of one another. I had fun browsing the “dewtour” hashtag, and I hope to do this again.

Saturday was a very busy day, especially in snowboarding.  There was a lot of drama and sick tricks.  I’ve got a lot of notes so let’s not waste any time.

However, I do want to give an update on Caleb Moore, who crashed on Thursday.  He underwent surgery for a heart contusion and then suffered complications involving his brain.  Current updates say that he’s still in critical condition.  My heart goes to him and his family.  Let’s all hope for better news tomorrow.

Ski thoughts

  • Why is it called Round 1 when Round 2 is the finals?
  • Gus Kenworthy lands first triple rodeo Japan air in Round 1 of Big Air. Talk about throwing down the gauntlet.
  • Triples are key again.
  • Henrik Harlaut’s style is giving him high scores.
  • 1980 is a year, not a trick (unless you’re Alex Schlopy). That’s the equivalent of five and half rotations by the way.
  • Everyone’s reaction to the 1980 attempt: O__O
  • Henrik is skiing with his goggles backwards and eyes closed. Is there a method to the madness?
  • Jossi Wells gave us sick style and a nice break from all that spinning.
  • A corked 540 looks really slow but still cool.
  • Going 100 feet downhill via the jump with GoPro looks like you’re flying.
  • There is such a thing as too much air. Ask Bobby Brown.
  • Gus changes his mind from doing a triple to a double cork mid-air. That’s some quick thinking.
  • The judges really liked Henrik’s nose-butter double cork 12.
  • Apparently the jump designers learned a few things from aerials.
  • Kai Mahler missed a few jumps due to a potential knee injury, but he came back to do a double Japan air and a switch double misty 1620.
  • Henrik nose-butters his triple. WTF.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Mark McMorris did 13 jumps in Big Air and remained in top condition for Men’s Slopestyle the next day.
  • Rookie Max Parrot threw down some triples, which he just learned recently. Forget the White versus McMorris showdown; it’s Parrot versus McMorris.
  • The Financial District elements crack me up. You’ve got the Deposit, the Down Payment, and the Money Booter. I suppose big investment = high pay off.
  • Lighting was starting to affect the snowboarders. Only two out of eight landed their second runs, and the highest score was 65. Also, I didn’t realize they had different lenses for different conditions.
  • Shaun White sketched in beginning of his last run on Cab 270 on rail, and that seemed to throw him off a little. He went down on a double cork.
  • “Perfect” was the word of the day. Jumps were packed so tightly that you needed to be flawless to complete your run.
  • Mark looked unfazed by everything.
  • Max couldn’t better his score, but hey, silver is definitely not bad for a rookie.
  • Peetu Piiroinen did well until a hand drag. He had a beautiful rodeo, but since he didn’t do a triple (the word of the weekend), it wasn’t enough.
  • Instead of cruising through his victory run, Mark does a full run that included a cab 1260 double cork and a backside triple cork 1440. He wound up improving his score to a record-breaking 98. He also looked really good on the rails.
    markmcmorri_zps12aad757 photo markmcmorri_zps12aad757.jpg
    By Brett Wilhelm /ESPN Images (via X Games official site)
  • Jamie Anderson was spotted hugging a tree in the beginning of Women’s Slopestyle. It’s her form of meditation apparently.
  • Enni Rukajärvi had first full run of the day, and she was grabbing with a broken wrist.
  • Rookie Aimee Fuller went for broke on backside 7 but wipes out.
  • You gotta spin both ways to get the points. Cab and frontside look too similar in Sina Candrian’s run
  • Enni was really good but reverbed at Money Booter, and the judges (along with the course) are just as hard on the ladies about little mistakes.
  • I wonder if more girls are going to meditate next year. It seemed to put Jamie in the zone. XG13Aspen3 photo jamie-anderson_zpsee8c0e77.jpeg
    By Matt Morning / ESPN Images (via
    The Ski Channel)
  • Later on in the evening, Elena Hight stomped the first ever backside double alley-oop rodeo in a contest! No one else has that trick except Shaun White, and he hasn’t landed it in contest. That ought to shut up the people who say women’s snowboarding is boring.
  • Kelly Clark answered the challenge with a frontside 1080.
  • Rookie and alternate Ariel Gold had a sick cab 900.
  • “The girls want to rip, and the girls are ripping.” – Gretchen Bleiler (who needs to be a commentator when she’s not competing)
  • Kaitlyn Farrington got points for committing on her grabs.
  • Gretchen was recovering from a shattered eye socket and concussion
  • Torah Bright’s strategy this year is “totally boarding”: doing all three snowboarding events. It’s really helping with her versatility and confidence.
  • Wax tech = god (according to Gretchen)
  • Not perfect conditions b/c pipe slopes
  • Kelly has more technical difficulty and high amplitude, as well as no set ups.
  • Great amplitude from Hannah Teter
  • Kelly’s 1080 was 14 feet high. It was really hard to determine whether hers or Elena’s was better, but in the end, technicality ruled over innovation.  Check out Kelly’s blog post about the finals.
  • People are using “double rodeo” and “double cork” interchangeably. I thought they were different?

Congratulations to Mark McMorris (Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Jamie Anderson (Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Henrik Harlaut (Ski Big Air), and Kelly Clark (Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe) on their victories!

Prediction Status: 3/6
Quote of the Day: “Wait, those are girls?!” – my mom, midway through Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle finals
Trick of the Day: Henrik Harlaut’s nose-butter double cork 12
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By Josh Duplechian/ESPN Images (via X Games official site)

Question of the Day:
What IS the difference between a double rodeo and a double cork?

The last two days have been a test of my determination to watch the X Games. I wound up missing Day 1 and part of Day 2 because of work and a photoshoot. On top of that, AT&T doesn’t have WatchESPN access so I had to go hunting for a TV with cable, dinner and Mountain Dew in tow. When I found one, I wound up losing my pen. It’s been a fight to see the action, but I’m glad I was able to catch what I did.

Ski thoughts

  • The TrickTrack on the X Games site is really cool, but it takes away part of the fun of my job.
  • Sarah Burke would’ve been proud of what went down in Women’s Ski SuperPipe. Everyone except Jen Hudak (who’s coming back from injury) did a 900.
  • Annalisa Drew, a rookie, tried to go for the 1260. That’s definitely a way to get noticed.
  • The walls are 22 feet. Roz Groenewoud soared 14+ feet over that.
  • The defending gold medalist goes last, which creates potential drama. In this case, we had Maddie Bowman snagging the top spot early on and Roz trying to knock her off.
  • In the Men’s SuperPipe final, Simon Dumont made a comeback. He gave quite an impressive performance considering it’s his first comp after his injury and he’s got pins in his wrist and no poles.
  • Newcomer Aaron Blunck showed a lot of potential. He goes fast and huge, but he’s gotta learn to not be so squirrelly.
  • Kevin Rolland had good run until he clipped his ribs on last trick. That looked like a painful way to go down.
  • I’ve heard a lot about the effectiveness of visualization, and maybe the claims are true. It seemed to have helped David Wise, who was shown spinning his helmet.
  • He did the first back-to-back double cork 1080, spinning in both directions.
  • Joffrey Pollet-Villard got so much amplitude, over 23 feet.
  • Torin Yater-Wallace put up a really awesome fight for gold, especially since he was coming off of an injury and doing tricks he hadn’t tried since summer.
  • David Wise got second highest score in Ski SuperPipe history. The highest belongs to Candide Thovex.davidwise_zps27b09eba photo davidwise_zps27b09eba.jpg (From Aspen/Snowmass Instagram)

Snowboard thoughts

  • Triples (corks and rodeos) are the trick to winning Snowboard Big Air. Because the standings are determined by your two highest scores, it’s good to have different variations in the bag.
  • I did wish the judges gave more style points though.
  • Halldor Helgason took a hard fall and wound up getting a concussion. Hope he gets well soon!
  • Ståle Sandbech got an early lead with the competition trailing behind by more than 20 points for much of the evening.
  • Backside triples are harder than Cab triples so Mark McMorris’ only got a 38. It’s unbelievable to consider that triple corks were the winning trick last year.
  • Also crazy is Ulrik Badertscher getting a low score for a 1620.
  • Guys were crashing all over the place trying their triple cork variation.
  • The Big Air finals really proved that you can’t be too comfy sitting up top, especially when you’re against a hot bed of talent. Ståle didn’t try to better his score (not that I blame him because the guys were getting really beat-up), and that wound up costing him.
  • There could not have been a more dramatic conclusion. Last two riders on their last jumps, both former gold medalists, do tricks that have never been stomped in competition (and in Mark’s case, never done period) after spending most of the contest wiping out. Both Mark McMorris and Torstein Horgmo made it count although they both seemed really surprised too.

Snowmobile thoughts

  • Even though I wasn’t present to see the contest, I did watch the video of Levi LaVallee’s run and he has definitely made a comeback.
  • I also want to send well wishes to the Moore brothers. Caleb Moore has had surgery for his heart contusion. Colton Moore has been treated for a dislocated pelvis.

Congratulations to our gold medalists: Levi LaValle (Snowmobile Freestyle), Louis-Felix Paradis (Snowboard Street and Real Street judges’ vote), Maddie Bowman (Women’s Ski SuperPipe), David Wise (Men’s Ski SuperPipe), and  Torstein Horgmo (Snowboard Big Air)!

Prediction Status: 2/3
Quote of the Day: “She would fall harder than any other girl, and she would get back up and do it again until she got it.” – Maddie Bowman, on Sarah Burke
Trick of the Day: Torstein Horgmo’s switch backside triple cork 1440, with Mark McMorris’ Cab triple underflip 1440 in a a close second
Inspiration of the Day: Simon Dumont – He came out for the fans despite having surgery last December. He couldn’t use poles and still got bronze.
Question of the Day: Do you think skiing is becoming more popular than snowboarding? (The New York Times thinks so.)

The X Games were over too quickly. My mind could barely process the amazing feats that happened in the course of four days. I was sad to not see Snocross on the schedule, but I was stoked that ABC picked up a portion of the broadcast (it’s tough to watch everything on a laptop screen). Anyway, here are my awards for stand-out performances and memorable moments. Everyone did so well that I struggled to narrow down my candidates for the best athlete categories.

Best Female Athlete – Kelly Clark (Snowboard)
Kelly Clark’s comp history is ridiculous, and now she has added a fourth Winter X gold and a thirteenth consecutive win. She also throws down the 1080 like it’s not big deal (when she’s the only woman doing them).

Best Male Athlete – Mark McMorris (Snowboard)
Although Mark McMorris’ double gold and triple cork was overshadowed by Shaun White’s perfect score, he established himself as one of the best slopestyle riders… in his second Winter X Games. Something else worth noting: Shaun was the last person to win two Winter X Games events in the same year (2009).

Newcomer to Watch – Nick Goepper (Ski)
Last year, Torin Yater-Wallace came out of nowhere to challenge the top competitors in Ski SuperPipe. Now it was Slopestyle’s turn to introduce a mega-talented rookie. Seventeen-year-old Nick Goepper unexpectedly took the top spot in qualifiers and held onto it in the finals until Tom Wallisch’s second run.

Most Dramatic Finals – Snowboard Big Air
Also known as the “Triple Party!!!” The question of who will attempt the triple cork first was answered by the first person to ever do one, Torstein Horgmo. Then Mark McMorris and Sebstain Toutant stepped up to the plate, and with each attempt, the riders got closer and closer to landing the elusive trick. Finally, as the clock wound down, Mark landed the first triple cork 1440 in competition, and on his last run, Torstein improved upon it and scored a perfect 50. Progression happened before our eyes.

Best Trick – front flip (Snowmobile)
Heath Frisby made the front flip look so easy that I had to take a second to think about what happened: a man made a 500-pound machine somersault forwards off a ramp. This kind of stuff only ought to happen in comic books, yet Heath proved that it was possible in real life.

Picture Perfect Moment – Dominique Maltais in Snowboarder X
WXG16-Dominique, Photo from official X Games facebook page
Photo from X Games facebook page
This shot reminds me of the phrase from ABC sports, “the thrill of victory”. Dominique’s silhouette is beautiful against the blue sky, and the shot embodies the moment of glory.

Best Moment Outside of Competition – Sarah Burke vigil
Although the vigil was a moment of sadness, it was also a moment of great beauty. It reminded us that that the X Games are not about who has the most gold medals or whether snowboarding or skiing is cooler; it’s about community and living life to the fullest.
WXG16-Burke Memorial, By AAron Ontiveroz of the Denver Post
Louie Vito hugs Sarah’s mother Jan Phelan. Photo by AAron Ontiveroz (The Denver Post)

Most Educational Moment – Keir Dillon explains double cork variations (Snowboard Big Air)
I’ve been told that snowboarding “looks like a bunch of spins”, and that’s not far from the truth. What determines the crème de la crème are the little details that go with the spins. Double corks are a big deal so I appreciate the fact that Keir Dillon mentioned frontsides and Cabs were more difficult than backsides. It’s nice to know what the judges are looking for.

Greatest Comeback – Shaun White (Snowboard)
After seeing Shaun’s SuperPipe runs, I have a hard time believing that he had a sprained ankle. To go from having to pull out of Slopestyle to getting a perfect score in a couple days must be the greatest comeback ever.

Most Inspirational – Sarah Burke (Ski)
The entire 4 days of competition was held in Sarah’s honor, as the Winter X Games would not be what it is today without her contributions. Several gold medalists dedicated their wins to her, and in the Women’s Ski SuperPipe, we saw the legacy she left behind. Though saddened by her untimely death, many competitors remembered her love of life and celebrated it through their sports.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Casey Puckett (Skier X)
This was Casey Puckett’s last professional race, and after ten X Games and five Olympics, it would be be an understatement to say that he has had an impressive 22-year career. After retiring from alpine skiing, he began a skicross career. He’s one of four individuals to have two golds in Men’s Skier X, and he finished fifth this year after only a “handful” of days skiing. While youth may reign at Winter X , we must never underestimate the power of the veterans or forget their achievements. Casey, it’s been a pleasure watching you race all these years.

If you missed any of this year’s big moments, you can catch them all in this highlight reel:

Friday was mostly a snowboarding day, and it got increasingly exciting as day turned into night (which meant my notes became more illegible). I wrote down so much stuff that I had to cut back, but here’s the good stuff.  I’m still reeling from the insanity that went down.

Ski thoughts

  • Like last year, SuperPipe elimination was very intense with the big names wiping out on their first runs (they only get two).
  • David Wise’s corked 12 was so fast and smooth. He only did one double, but his run was technical enough to score high. It’s not always about the double cork.
  • Simon Dumont has been off his game. He was deeply affected by Sarah Burke’s death and even said that he wasn’t sure he would be able to ski at Winter X.
  • Second runs were make-it-or-break-it time for Simon, Torin Yater-Wallace (who had barely qualified), and Kevin Rolland. All three delivered albeit in a safe manner.winter x games day 2, Mahala Gaylord, The Denver Post
    Hometown boy Torin Yater-Wallace going big. Photo by Mahala Gaylord (The Denver Post)
  • Kevin’s mom is definitely his biggest fan. She even took a kid’s horn to make noise for him.

Snowboard thoughts

  • Cheryl Maas and her wife Stine Brun Kjeldaas, also a talented snowboarder, recently welcomed a baby girl into their family. I wonder if she’ll follow in her mothers’ footsteps.
  • Cheryl has a Tumblr that you can follow.
  • The slopestyle course is tough. The jumps are so close together that one slip up and you land wrong. That puts you a few inches off your line, and it’s enough to end your run.
  • Spencer O’Brien provided another example of why it’s important to know how to fall correctly. She came up super short (on the top of the jump pretty much) and tried to take the impact across her entire body.
  • It’s been 10 years since Kelly Clark won Olympic gold and her first Winter X gold.
  • The SuperPipe ladies had some interesting fashion choices: Elena Hight’s hot pink jacket practically glowed on my computer screen, and Maddy Schaffrick painted her face to look like a cheetah’s.
  • I Tweeted to the X Games a correction on Xuetong Cai’s name. They thought Xuetong was her last name because she’s often called “Cai Xuetong” which is the Chinese way of saying her name.
  • Maddy almost put down a Haakon flip (an inverted Cab 720), which might be the first for a female snowboarder in competition.
  • Torah Bright looked a bit rusty. She’s been away from halfpipe competitions for over a year.
  • The key to winning Women’s SuperPipe, according to Keir Dillon, is “explosiveness”. The riders need momentum, amplitude, and tricks that will blow the judges’ minds.
  • No birthday gold for Hannah Teter, but a bronze medal is a pretty good present.
  • Kelly is so awesome that she throws the 1080 in the middle of her run. She has now won the last 13 contests she has entered, and she’s the first to get back-to-back gold in Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe.
  • At Big Air qualifiers, there were whispers of who was going to pull the triple cork.
  • Even with all the hype, the guys could still find time to goof off in practice.  You can check out Torstein Horgmo and Mark McMorris playing a snowboarder’s variation of HORSE on Torstein’s website.
  • It would’ve been interesting to see Halldor Helgason get into the finals and pull a chick wing double backside rodeo. That might be a contender with the triple cork.
  • Keir was a great announcer, explaining to people at home double cork variations. Frontside is more difficult than backside double corks because you come in blind. A switch frontside, a.k.a. Cab, double cork is the hardest because you’re also coming in with the opposite foot forward. I’m thinking I need to do a post about snowboarding terms because it’s full of intricate details.
  • Sebastien Toutant lands his double corks so smoothly that they look easy.
  • With nine minutes left on the finals, it became a triple cork party between the three guys who have pulled one: Torstein, Mark, and Seb Toots.
  • Torstein threw down the gauntlet. Mark answered it by landing with a hand drag. Then on his last jump, Torstein steps it up by sticking it perfectly. It was a beautiful display of one-up manship that was about progression rather than competition (since the score is based on two jumps, Torstein could have done a “safe” trick to get a decent first score and then attempted the triple, but that isn’t his style).
  • To give you an idea of how tough the competition was, Torstein had a perfect score (50), and it wasn’t enough to beat Mark (whose triple got a 49). We had a three-way tie for second between Torstein, Seb Toots, and Eric Willet. It was broken by looking at the riders’ highest score.

Congratulations to Day 2 winners: Jamie Anderson (Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle), Kelly Clark (Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe), and Mark McMorris (Snowboard Big Air)!

Prediction Status: 4/6
Quote of the Day: Keir Dillon – “You don’t know any other cheetah girls do you?”
Sal Masakela – “I don’t.. except the ones on Disney”
Trick of the Day: TRIPLE CORK!!!
Inspiration of the Day: Kelly Clark
Question of the Day: What do you think of the Big Air judging system?