Kevin Rolland Qualifies First at European X Games Superpipe Prelims
Jossi Wells on his night
Tonight marked the first official event of the X Games — European edition — for the skiers. On the docket: Men's Superpipe Qualifiers. Qualifiers: the most hated day of competition, as 16 men were slimmed down to a more manageable eight for tomorrow's finals. While the top eight are taken, great importance is placed upon which ranking you end up in, as tomorrow's event will use reverse-start order, and getting that last drop spot is oh-so-important.
Jossi Wells is a smooth pimp.
Tonight it was Kevin Rolland who came out on top, something he's been doing with more and more frequency as the year has progressed. Right behind him was the always-dangerous Simon Dumont. And on the heels of Dumont was last year's Euro X bronze medalist, Justin Dorey. Kevin's back-to-back, left-to-right switch hits coupled with two double flips surely cemented his spot for the top spot. Dumont also dropped two double flips and an amazing amount of amplitude to easily secure himself second place. And Justin Dorey, who put down the best double cork 1260 of the night, had enough firepower to take third, but most certainly has more tricks up his sleeve.
Just look at the crowd.
Duncan Adams, whose signature run filled with unorthodox tricks like switch straight airs and switch alley-oop variations, took the fourth spot. Flawless style and an out there run was a winning combination tonight. Jossi Wells, who failed to make finals at Winter X 15 this year, kept the technical trickery to a minimum (that being back-to-back 900s and a pipe double flip) but stomped his landings so cleanly, that even Tom Wallisch would be proud. Mike Riddle stuck to the run he's been doing most of the year (double cork 1260, back-to-back 900s, alley-oop bwarrow, switch 900/720) and was awarded sixth place. Rumor has it that Riddle (along with Wells and Dumont) has a switch double flip, that might make an appearance tomorrow night.
Bubble boy Torin Yater-Wallace
David Wise, who suffered a couple crashes in practice on his double cork 1260, put things together in his second run to have a shot at the finals. With some of the highest amplitude of the qualifiers, coupled with a double cork 1260 and a couple alley-oop flatspin variations, Wise squeaked in to 7th. And tonight's bubble boy, Torin Yater-Wallace, was resting easy after a spending much of the night on the cusp of being ousted. Winding up a corked 1260 and wowing the crowd with a last hit alley-oop double flatpsin 900, the young Tater Tot secured the eighth and final spot.
Tucker Perkins legit travels with beef jerky, everywhere.
As with every omelette, you've got to break some eggs. Thomas Krief was just outside the bubble even with a pipe double 900 and double cork 1260, but the amplitude might have been a bit lacking in the judges eyes. Xavier Bertoni followed up his countryman Krief in 10th spot, not making finals in front of a hometown crowd. Matt Margetts couldn't hold on to his alley-oop double flatpsin 720, despite rocking the pipe like a damn surgeon all night. Wing Tai Barrymore gets the hard-charging award of the night, boosting the highest, but not being able to stomp his alley-oop double flatpsin 900 on his second run.
While the level of riding was what we've come to expect, and the crowd was out in full force, the weather was the big mark on the evening. A gray afternoon of practice turned into breezy and sometimes quite snowy (see fig. a) conditions. Speed was certainly an issue as many big time boosting athletes were kept in check, proving that they are indeed, human.
Fig A: Mike Riddle still looks damn good in the crappy conditions.
Tomorrow's forecast looks to be the same, if not worse weather, so that will be a huge factor in whether or not we see some new doubles come out, or whether we see athletes trying to hold it together in some inclement Alp weather. But your eight finalists are ready to rock another sellout crowd in France, tomorrow night. Be there, or read about it later, here on Freeskier.com.
2 Simon Dumont — 88.00
3 Justin Dorey — 86.00
4 Duncan Adams — 84.00
5 Jossi Wells — 83.66
6 Mike Riddle — 79.66
7 David Wise — 80.00
8 Torin Yater-Wallace — 79.00
10 Xavier Bertoni — 78.00
11 Byron Wells — 74.66
12 Tucker Perkins — 68.00
13 Matt Margetts — 54.66
14 Taylor Seaton — 48.33
15 Benoit Valentin — 46.33
16 Wing Tai Barrymore — 34.33
About the author:
Shay Williams is the former Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He now works full-time with Monster Energy, and continues to contribute to freeskier.com, offering insights re: the lives of his Monster athletes.