On a day that finally saw blue skies after nearly a week of stormy, sticky weather, the men of snowboard slopestyle were actually able to see where they were going on a course that has been the cause of much consternation throughout the event. Deciding collectively that the weather and course conditions were not conducive to the kind of high-level riding that they have come to expect from themselves and each other, the slopestyle competitors chose to forgo the elimination round Thursday in favor of a "super final" Friday.
Finals usually run with eight riders getting three runs each. Instead all 23 snowboarders got two chances to go for Winter X Gold.
"I think it worked out really well, and I'm proud of the riders for making that decision," said Chas Guldemond, who captured the gold medal. "We only had two runs, but at least everybody didn't get knocked out yesterday because the weather was bad. It gave everybody the chance to put down their best run."
Guldemond's best run ended up earning him the highest score any slope rider in any X event has ever earned: a 99.33 for a backside 270 on the down rail to double back rodeo to cab 270 to back lip fakie to a cab double cork 12 and back double 10 over the last two kickers.
Until Guldemond's second run, Winter X 15 gold medalist Sebastien Toutant had been sitting in what seemed like an untouchable first place. His back lip to frontside 10 double cork to front board 450 out to cab 270 to fakie to cab 9 double cork and back 10 double cork earned him a score of 98 -- one point higher than the record breaking 97 he earned in the qualifiers at Winter X 15.
"Honestly, I don't know what to say," Guldemond said. "Both Eric [Willet] and I didn't think it was possible to beat a 98. I'm so stoked."
Toutant was gracious in defeat. "The course was really tricky. Nobody really tried anything in practice, but as soon as the contest started it was insane," he said. "I'm stoked. I didn't ever think I could put that run down."
"It's awesome to see that we can still progress even when the courses aren't top notch," said Eric Willett, the Winter X 2010 gold medalist who came in third this time around. "I'm happy we put on a good show and everyone threw down."