Shaun White may not be the Olympic favorite in slopestyle, but nobody was better in Dew Tour qualifying Friday.
The two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion posted the highest score of 30 riders in the first of his two runs, a 93.20 out of 100. It held up through the second run, sending White to the final Sunday with 15 or 16 other riders.
Canadian Mark McMorris, considered the Olympic favorite, needed a sigh-of-relief second run to qualify. He scored 70 points and made it in 11th place.
American Eric Willett was second in qualifying with 87.20 points, followed by Canadian Sebastien Toutant in third.
Slopestyle is an event set to make its Olympic debut in Sochi. Riders do tricks off a series of walls, rails and jumps over a course.
White won every X Games slopestyle title from 2003-06 but focused more on the halfpipe beginning with the 2006 Olympics. He finished fifth in slopestyle at January’s Winter X Games, won by McMorris for the second straight year.
White spent time this fall training on a personal halfpipe and slopestyle training ground in Australia.
Breckenridge marks the first of five stops in the Olympic trials process. The others are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo., 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 trials tour. 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.
The Breckenridge action can be live streamed here all weekend.
Breckenridge Snowboard Slopestyle Qualifying
1. Shaun White (USA) 93.20
2. Eric Willett (USA) 87.20
3. Sebastien Toutant (CAN) 86.20
11. Mark McMorris (CAN) 70.00