The new golden boy.
It may sound weird, but it's been a long time coming for the 16-year-old precocious pipe skier. He may only be 16, but Torin Yater-Wallace put the rest of the field in his rear view mirror as he handily won gold tonight in Tignes, France at the third iteration of Winter X Games Europe. While the level of pipe skiing was as high as its ever been, Torin was the end-all-be-all of the skiers tonight, taking a commanding lead on his first run and building on it during his second run. Thomas Krief took silver tonight, in front of a raucous hometown crowd and David Wise couldn't repeat his Aspen performance, but still managed a bronze medal performance tonight.
Justin Dorey ends things off with an air-to-fakie.
With some of the highest amplitude of the night, Torin put down a different run from his Aspen X Games experience. He starts off on the left wall with his unique-looking double cork 1260. He immediately follows it up with a double alley-oop flatspin 900, a trick he used to throw at the end of his run. His setup trick was a lofty 900 which segued perfectly into his leftside 1080. He finished it off with a switch 900 for good measure. Torin had never taken gold at an X event, previously taking bronze in last year's Euro X.
Thomas Krief, who has been on the verge of the podium so many times, finally broke through tonight with a consistent three runs under his belt. He got it going with a rightside 900, which he then followed up with a double cork 1260. He floated an alley-oop flatspin 360 after that into a switch 1080. With a picture perfect alley-oop double flatspin 900 capping the Frenchman's run off, the crowd would go nuts. Toto had yet to make either an X games or even a dew tour podium, yet his compilation of fourths and fifths were testament to his skill.
Thomas Krief en route to his silver medal.
David Wise stuck to his guns from Aspen and Snowbasin, but he didn't quite have the amplitude and precision that we'd come to know. He started his run off with a lofty switch double flip 1080. The Reno-native went back-to-back in the 900 department after the switch dub. He then floated over the crowd on his alley-oop flatspin 540 before capping the run off with a double cork 1260. David saw his three-contest win streak come to an end tonight, but he's extended his podium-streak to four events.
Justin Dorey, who was competing in his first event since he suffered a dislocated shoulder at Winter X Games 16 in Aspen, CO. While the Canadian was holding back from tricks we know he has in the bag, he still scored in the 90s, a mere third of a point behind Wise. All three runs Dorey put down lofty tricks, including his double flatspin 720s into GIANT switch 720s. We thought we might see the switch double flip 1080, but alas, not tonight. Fellow Canadian—and Winter X 16 silver medalist—Noah Bowman took a horrific spill in practice, and he should be given a medal just for competing. While he only took two of his three runs tonight, Bowman still displayed some of the smoothest pipe skiing we've seen all year. His switch 900 shifty to switch alley-oop 360 to switch 720 combo is a force to be reckoned with, and that's before he doubles two of those tricks.
Xavier Bertoni, who was competing in his second final of the season, looked to build off the hometown crowd. Suffering from a downer competition year, Bertoni put down his pipe double flip 900s and back-to-back 900s, showing that he's still got enough game to compete with the young guys. Good to see the Frenchman coming back to his skiing form, as he's been at the top of the game. Bertoni previously won Winter X Games 13, besting both Tanner Hall and Simon Dumont at the time.
Gus Kenworthy looked to be in fire in the superpipe tonight, with the help of precision rightside 1080s and switch 1080s. After a setup alley-oop flatspin 540, Kenworthy was dropping double flastpin 1080s on the crowd. The problems, however, arose after that dub. His first run he got caught up on the switch 720, although he still landed. His second run the switch 720 was fine, but he ran out of pipe as he attempted to squeeze in one more switch 720. Matt Margetts rounded out the finals group tonight, after falling on all three runs. Matt was determined to put on a show tonight though, unfortunately he was having trouble with his alley-oop double flatspin 720. It just wasn't his night here in France.
This marked the first competition in a very long time that didn't feature either Kevin Rolland or Simon Dumont (among others), but injury is a part of the sport and in the end, it definitely didn't affect the quality of competition tonight.
And as the book finally closes on European X Games, we can salute our champions from this week. Thanks to Tignes Resort for hosting such a wonderful event and we'll see everyone next year.
Men's Final Results:
1_ Torin Yater-Wallace – 95.00
2_ Thomas Krief – 91.66
3_ David Wise – 90.33
4_ Justin Dorey – 90.00
5_ Noah Bowman – 85.00
6_ Xavier Bertoni – 81.00
7_ Gus Kenworthy – 57.33
8_ Matt Margetts – 38.00
Torin and David are very close in the AFP Superpipe Rankings after this event. Just how close? Visit the AFP World Superpipe Rankings page to see.