Shaun White didn’t disappoint fans on the opening day of the X Games in Aspen, coasting into Saturday’s superpipe finals, where he’s the five-time defending champ. He actually didn’t do a single trick on his second run after scoring an 87.00 with back-to-back double corks to secure second in qualifying.
White didn’t fare as well in the slopestyle, qualifying seventh with a score of 67.33 to sneak in to his first finals since 2009. Canada’s Mark McMorris, the defending X Games and World Cup champ in the event, took the top spot with a score of 88.66.
“[The competition] was so heavy. I’m just so glad to get the first one out of the way,” McMorris said. “To land a good run that I’m hyped on that I can build on for Saturday, it’s gonna be pretty good times.”
No one attempted a triple cork on Thursday, but it’s likely to appear as part of someone’s arsenal come Saturday, and might be the only way White will be able to beat McMorris. Slopestyle will debut as an Olympics event next year in Sochi.
NBC Sports will air coverage of 87 Alpine skiing races at 22 resorts across the globe this fall and winter, from October through March, in the final full season before the 2018 Olympics.
Highlights include fall and winter stops in the U.S. with races in Killington, Vt.; Beaver Creek, Colo.; Squaw Valley, Calif.; and the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in March.
Lindsey Vonn‘s highlighted World Cup stop will be downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, Canada, the first weekend of December.
The world championships in February will be in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin will look to defend titles.
ALPINE SKIING SEASON PREVIEWS: Men | Women
Canadian skier Phil Brown was fortunate to walk away from an airborne crash at the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria, on Sunday.
Brown failed to finish his first run, losing contact with the snow early on and falling hard onto his side.
He tweeted a video of the crash, with slow-motion replays, with a soundtrack of Irish singer Enya‘s “Only Time.”
The World Cup season continues with men’s and women’s slaloms in Levi, Finland, in three weeks.
MORE: Ted Ligety recovers to finish fifth in first race in 9 months