Though the general consensus among the skiers and snowboarders here at Winter X Europe is that the halfpipe is one of the best they've ever ridden, the slopestyle course has been plagued with weather issues that have been setting competitions back all week.
On Wednesday, warm snow slowed the course so much that competitors in both the Women's Ski Slopestyle Finals and Men's Ski Slopestyle elims could not get enough speed to hit the last jump, and chose to ride over it instead.
Last night a storm moved into Tignes, blanketing the course with fresh snow and thick fog, delaying practice for the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle elims for an hour. Despite heavy effort on the part of the park crew to get the course in shape in time for the competition, at the end of the practice riders voted to forgo the elim round, in favor of running the comp as a finals-only round, tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be better.
"The weather has definitely played a big factor," says course designer and sport organizer Chris "Gunny" Gunnarson of the decision to cancel the elims. "We got nine inches of snow on the course. We groomed it out at about 3:45 in the morning, but the speed was more affected by wind more than the snow, and then there's really bad visibility. We've got a pretty heavy fog. You can't even see the top of the course at times. We put it to a decision with the athletes, since they're the ones hitting the course, on what they felt was the safest and best decision, and even though there were some differing opinions, the majority decision was to cancel today and go to a 24 rider, two run final tomorrow."
Men and Women's Snowboard Slopestyle finals run Friday, starting at 10 a.m. in Tignes (CET/GMT+1). The events will be tape-delayed broadcast in the U.S. on ESPN2 at 12 p.m. ET, and live webcast on ESPN3.com at 6 a.m. ET.