James Woods tops 2013 X Games Aspen slopestyle qualifier

Comments by Henrik Lampert/

Under grey skies this afternoon on Buttermilk Mountain, eight skiers’ dreams of X Games glory were squashed. Sixteen skiers dropped into the slopestyle course—two runs each, best run counts—and of those 16, only half would advance to Sunday’s final round.

Competitors have been training on the X Games slopestyle course since Tuesday. Many called it the best slopestyle course X Games has ever created. While the first few days of practice saw bright sunshine, skiers faced overcast skies today, and a bit of flat light as a result. Regardless, the level of competition was high.

Topping the field today was none other than the UK’s James “Woodsy” Woods. Woods, who took top honors at the US Grand Prix at Copper earlier this month, has been skiing incredibly well of late, and was a favorite heading into this week’s events. Uncharacteristically, Woods bobbled on his first run today, and thus, the pressure was on for run number two. Woods managed to overcome the nerves, stomping a clean run that consisted of a switch 270 on, 270 off the down rail up top; a hand-drag across the rainbow rail on the second rail-station; a switch on, 450 out of the next down rail; a flat, gap to down over the flat-down-flat-down box, with a switch up midair; a switch on, corked 810 out of the cannon feature; a double cork 10; rightside double cork 12; and switch rightside double cork 10 octograb to close.

Speaking with James Woods and Tom Wallisch post X Games slope qualifier

Behind Woodsy in the standings today was Norwegian Andreas Håtveit. No surprise there, as Håtveit hasn’t missed an X Games slopestyle final in recent memory. Andreas stomped a clean first run, and upped his points on run number two, going cleanly through the upper rail section, and linking his jibs with a switch right 10 tail, a switch left 9 safety, a double cork 10 and a rightside double cork 12.

Placing third today was young-gun Alex Bellemare. Bellemare was turning heads amid the practice sessions this week, stomping an assortment of impressive stunts on a handful of the course features. Standout tricks from Bellemare’s run today included a switch 450 on, 270 out of the first down rail, a misty flip off the flat-gap to down box—initiating his flip off the end of the flat box, and soaring over the latter segment—and his jumps: a double cork 10, rightside double cork 12 and switch double cork 10.

Also advancing to the final today were Bobby Brown, Henrik Harlaut, Joss Christensen, Nick Goepper and Alex Schlopy. Nick Goepper had a special fan amid the crowd today—gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, who posted a photo to Instagram during the event, cheering on Goepper.

Just missing the cut today was Tom Wallisch. Tom stomped his second run 95% cleanly, but a hand drag on the landing of his third jump was enough to keep him from the final. Also cut from the final were Gus Kenworthy, Matt Walker, McRae Williams, Noah Morrison, Jossi Wells, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand and PK Hunder. Missing out on the event was Russ Henshaw, who tweaked his knee during practice this morning.

The top eight finishers will compete in the slopestyle final on Sunday. The ladies will also compete in their own slopestyle final that day.

Tonight, we’re off to check out the X Games ski superpipe finals. Stay tuned for coverage following the event. Looking to tune in on TV? Check out the X Games TV broadcast schedule here.

2013 X Games Aspen Slopestyle Elimination Results

1. James Woods — 92.66
2. Andreas Håtveit — 91.33
3. Alex Bellemare — 89.00
4. Bobby Brown — 87.33
5. Henrik Harlaut — 86.00
6. Joss Christensen — 85.33
7. Nick Goepper — 85.00
8. Alex Schlopy — 81.66

Cutoff for finals

9. Tom Wallisch — 80.66
10. Gus Kenworthy — 78.00
11. Matt Walker — 77.00
12. McRae Williams — 76.00
13. Noah Morrison — 65.66
14. Jossi Wells — 29.00
15. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand — 28.66
16. PK Hunder — 22.66