Men's SuperPipe elimination was the only ski event on the X Games Aspen docket for Thursday. Sixteen men dropped into Buttermilk's SuperPipe, vying for eight spots in Friday's SuperPipe Final. With two runs to put down their best score, the action was heated in the pipe.
Though medals weren't at stake, there was an interesting atmosphere at the base of the pipe. The upcoming Winter Olympics has pushed athletes to train seriously, and has brought more attention to the SuperPipe (and Slopestyle) competitors. David Wise' attempt at a repeat SuperPipe gold medal was underway. Tanner Hall was clicked into his bindings atop the SuperPipe for the first time since 2009, looking to earn a spot in the final and show that he deserves a look for Sochi. Gus Kenworthy's triple threat bid--he's competing in SuperPipe, Slopestyle, and Big Air at X Games Aspen--began with his pipe elim runs. The French SuperPipe team is primed to make a statement. And, the young guns--competitors like Torin Yater-Wallace, Noah Bowman, and Aaron Blunck--were ready to throw-down in the pipe.
But not everyone got to capitalize on their plan.
Reigning gold medalist David Wise put together two banger runs, tallying a score of 87 on his first attempt and then upping the line to a 92 after his second run. He qualified in first place thanks to stomping a switch double and a double cork 12, among other tricks.
Rounding out the top three qualifiers were teenage Aspen local Torin Yater-Wallace, whose 90 puts him in second, and Frenchman Kevin Rolland, who has made a living with perennial spots on pipe comp podiums. Torin put on a show in his first comp of the year after a shoulder injury. The usually consistent Rolland over-rotated on a hit in his first run, but rebated the run on his second attempt notching a score of 88.
Other highlights included X Games rookie and Crested Butte teenager Aaron Blunck's amplitude. He boosted a huge right side 900 tail on his first hit ever in X Games, but clipped the top of the coping on a subsequent double cork 1260. Blunck powered through the impact, however, and rode it out, showing everyone why he was on the podium at two previous comps in Copper. Simon Dumont nabbed the last qualifying spot while gritting his teeth and ignoring a wrist injury.
Not the making the cut, though, were Noah Bowman, who burst onto the scene last year in Aspen with a silver medal in SuperPipe, Tanner Hall, and Gus Kenworthy, who will be trying to qualify in Slopestyle Friday before Saturday's Big Air.
The Men's SuperPipe Final is Friday night at 8:45 and you can trust that Aspen's locals will turn out in mass to cheer on Torin Yater-Wallace as he competes against Wise, Rolland, and others in front of his hometown crowd.
The Women's SuperPipe Final goes down Friday where Roz Groenewoud is looking to repeat as gold medalist against seven other frothing athletes. And, there's a lot of hype surrounding Friday's Skiing Slopestyle Men’s Elimination. Word is that Kenworthy, Russ Henshaw, and others will be trying triples during elims today.
Check back with Powder.com throughout X Games for daily coverage.
Men's SuperPipe Elimination Results
Name Bib # Hometown Score
1. David Wise 713 Reno, NV 92.00
2. Torin Yater-Wallace 714 Aspen, CO 90.00
3. Kevin Rolland 710 La Plagne, FRA 88.00
4. Joffrey Pollet-Villard 716 La Clusaz, FRA 86.00
5. Benoit Valentin 711 La Plagne, FRA 80.00
6. Aaron Blunck 700 Crested Butte, CO 78.33
7. Tucker Perkins 708 North Hampton, NH 75.66
8. Simon Dumont 703 Bethel, ME 72.66
9. Noah Bowman 701 Calgary, AB, CAN 70.66
10. Tanner Hall 704 Kalispell, MT 69.33
11. Matt Margetts 707 Vernon, BC, CAN 68.00
12. Jossi Wells 717 Wanaka, NZ 67.00
13. Alex Ferreira 715 Aspen, CO 37.33
14. Mike Riddle 709 Sherwood Park, AB, CAN 34.66
15. Thomas Krief 706 Alpe D'Heuz, FRA 32.66
16. Gus Kenworthy 734 Telluride, CO 14.66
Skiing Event Schedule
Friday, January 25
1 PM - 2:30 PM
Skiing Slopestyle Men’s Elimination (at the Slopestyle Course)
6:30 PM - 7:45 PM
Skiing SuperPipe Women's Final (at the SuperPipe)
8:45 PM - 10 PM
Skiing SuperPipe Men’s Final (at the SuperPipe)
Saturday, January 26
7 PM - 9 PM
Skiing Big Air Round One & Final (at the Big Air Booter)
Sunday, January 27
12 PM - 1:15 PM
Skiing Slopestyle Men's Final (at the Slopestyle Course)
1: 30 PM - 2:45 PM
Skiing Slopestyle Women's Final (at the Slopestyle Course)