There was no Shaun White–Mark McMorris showdown Sunday. Even if healthy, it’s unlikely White would have taken down the Canadian.
McMorris, a Saskatchewan rider, blew away the snowboard slopestyle field at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo. The two-time reigning Winter X Games champion had the best opening run, a conservative (for him) ride that scored 95.00 points.
McMorris went even bigger in his second run, landing a triple cork on the final jump for a 97.80.
“If everything was going good the last run, I was going to do it [the triple],” McMorris, who qualified into the final in 11th place, said on NBCSN. “Sure enough I was headed into the last jump, and I did it. It felt really good.
“I feel like I did my best.”
White led qualifying with a 93.20 on Friday before suffering an ankle injury in Saturday’s halfpipe final.
McMorris, 20, took the mantle as world’s best slopestyle snowboarder after White ruled the discipline a decade ago.
White, 27, won every X Games title from 2003 to 2006 before focusing more on halfpipe. White was fifth at the most recent X Games in January, won by McMorris. He missed Sunday’s anticipated rematch with an ankle injury.
McMorris won by more than five points over Swede Sven Thorgren. Canadian Max Parrot was third. Chas Guldemond was the top American finisher in fifth, taking the lead in the race to make the U.S. Olympic Team.
Breckenridge marked the first of five Olympic selection events for snowboarding and freeskiing. The next four events are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo., next weekend, followed by Northstar, Calif., Park City, Utah, and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
The five events will determine Olympians in snowboard halfpipe and the new Olympic events of snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle. The Olympic rosters are expected to be announced Jan. 22.
The overall Olympic qualification standings will be determined by the two best results for an athlete over the selection events. No more than four athletes can make the U.S. Olympic Team per event. It’s possible fewer than four will be named for some events.
“It’s such an amazing feeling,” McMorris said on NBCSN. “I was so glad to put down what I came out here to do. It’s always nice to get two good runs down. I couldn’t ask to start my season on a better note.”
Breckenridge Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
1. Mark McMorris (CAN) 97.80
2. Sven Thorgren (SWE) 91.00
3. Max Parrot (CAN) 89.00