Classic Mike Riddle style
He came, he saw, he conquered. Reno's David Wise, last night's top qualifier, completely obliterated the superpipe today, en route to his gold medal. “I just didn’t think about it as pressure,” Wise said. “I just focused on the perfect halfpipe and perfect conditions. I just wanted to show the world who I am and what I can do. Thanks to everyone for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do in the pipe.”
The more than modest skier put down a run that was not only tenacious and lofty, but technical and stylish as well. Taking home the silver this year was newcomer Noah Bowman. Bowman, who was an alternate until roughly two hours before last night's semifinals, put on a show utilizing a unique trick that no one else in the field can do: the switch double alley oop 900. And this year's bronze medal goes to Torin Yater-Wallace, the local hero and 16-year-old phenom.
David's run kicked off with a lofty switch double flip 1080—arguably the hottest trick in halfpipe skiing these days. He then went into back-to-back 900s, and then a fourth hit monster alley oop flatspin 540. He capped his run off with a massive double corked 1260 for good measure.
Noah Bowman, the only competitor without a double corked 1260, went a different route. Kicking things off with a right side 720, he then hit the left wall with a switch 900. His third hit was the lynchpin to his run, the alley oop switch double flip 900. Unique and smooth as hell, Bowman stomps and rides into a monster switch 720, ending things off with a rightside 900.
The youngster Yater-Wallace was off the podium before dropping in for his third run. But with his run that consisted of an unorthodox double cork 1260, left 900, pipe double flip 900, alley oop flatspin 360 and switch 720, he edged out the reigning champ Kevin Rolland for the final podium spot. “I felt like I was expected to do well,” Yater-Wallace said. “I tried to put the pressure aside, but it is so hard as you are standing at the top about to drop. I am stoked that I am on the podium again.”
With Kevin's fourth place finish, an era comes to an end. He's won the past two X Games, while France has won the past three. Kevin has seemed almost unstoppable the past year in competition, but today he didn't look quite comfortable. While he had all the elements to win—double corked 1260, right and left pipe double flip 900s and massive amplitude—Kevin couldn't get his run down the way he wanted, being nipped out of the final podium spot by young Yater-Wallace.
Torin Yater-Wallace, bronze medalist
Tucker Perkins, whom Matt Margetts commented about, "hasn't fallen in like two weeks!" The uber-consistent Perkins was on point today, dropping back-to-back 900s, double cork 1260s and switch right 720s. He's been steadily gaining momentum and no one should feel safe with him nipping at their heels. Simon Dumont, who failed to medal for the second time in about ten X Games, was skiing in typical Dumont fashion: hard, fast and aggressive.
Mike Riddle, who had put down a solid run and was looking to up the ante with a switch double flip, unfortunately didn't get the chance. On his 900 mute on his final run, the old pull-your-ski-off-Riddle-style reared its ugly head. And Riddle's teammate Justin Dorey, who was amidst the gold medal run (based on his alley oop double flatspin 720 to switch double flip 1080 combo), clipped the deck with his upper body coming out of said switch double flip. After a hard spill, Justin was helped off course by medical staff, with an apparent shoulder injury. But it seemed as though Dorey escaped any more major injury, so we're all glad of that.
David Wise, gold medal run
"It was kind of nice, I was just looking at this week as a good practice week—having fun with it," Bowman said. " Having fun all week and no pressure thinking about the comp—that was good. Sadly a couple of guys got hurt—but for me it was nice to be in and just making it to finals—I couldn't believe I did that. Then putting down a good run today and being rewarded for it—it feels good."
Today's final featured some of the best overall pipe riding we've ever seen, at X Games or anywhere. The bar has been caught, quartered and skewered. And as the day comes to a close, the Superipipe competitors draw a close to their Winter X Games experience. With only big air left, the last thing left to do for the pipe competitors? Spend their 10-percent in a little place called Aspen.
Men's Final Results:
1_ David Wise – 93.00
2_ Noah Bowman – 90.00
3_ Torin Yater-Wallace – 89.66
4_ Kevin Rolland – 89.33
5_ Tucker Perkins – 88.33
6_ Simon Dumont – 87.00
7_ Mike Riddle – 80.33
9_ Justin Dorey – 38.33
Justin Dorey, Alley oop flatspin 360
Kevin Rolland, down the pipe flatspin 540