Shaun White in running for gold in superpipe, slopestyle |

Shaun White in running for gold in superpipe, slopestyle

Michael Appelgate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – On his last superpipe run Thursday night, Shaun White didn’t attempt a trick.

Instead the Carlsbad, Calif., product waved to the crowd and coasted down the superpipe, content with qualifying in second place for the Winter X Games’ premier snowboard event.

He led after the first round of qualifying with an 88. Swiss competitor Iouri Podladtchikov surpassed White by 0.33 points.

No matter: White still will compete for two gold medals this weekend.

White also qualified for the snowboard slopestyle final Thursday afternoon but in a much different fashion from the superpipe. White was fifth after the first round with a 67.33. His run was clean, highlighted by a switch backside 1080 and a half-Cab frontside 1080. Defending gold medalist Mark McMorris, however, looked like he was a step ahead of White.

McMorris calmly posted an 88.66 – the highest mark of the day.

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Peetu Piiroinen, of Finland, last year’s bronze medalist, finished second with an 81.33, while White, 26, finished seventh after crashing while attempting a Cab 1260 on the third jump of the slopestyle course during his second run.

Last year’s silver medalist, Sage Kotsenburg, of Park City, Utah, failed to qualify after falling on both of his runs and finishing 13th.

White hasn’t medaled in the slopestyle since 2009 and had to drop out of the competition last year because of a sprained ankle.

He will have to improve his tricks to keep pace with McMorris, who is seven years younger than White (19). The slopestyle final is at noon Saturday.

White didn’t disappoint in his first run of the night in the superpipe, soaring more than 19 feet out of the pipe for a backside method. He followed that up with a frontside double-cork 1080, a Cab double-cork 1080, frontside 540, backside 900 and alley-oop rodeo. He averaged about 13 feet of air out of the pipe and moved into first place with an 88.

In comparison, Louie Vito, who qualified eighth, achieved an apex of 11 feet on one jump.

Podladtchikov, last year’s silver medalist, bested White’s mark in the superpipe with a backside method, frontside 900, backside 900, frontside double-cork 1080 and Cab double-cork 1080.

After the Swiss rider completed his run, White dropped into the pipe at high speed before pulling up to coast down the center.

White will compete for his sixth straight superpipe gold medal at 7:45 p.m. Sunday.

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