Defending Slopestyle champion Mark McMorris will be battling a new face in the finals this year: Shaun White. Despite the vaunted White returning to the competition, McMorris will win gold for the second straight year.
The 19-year-old Canadian finished first in the qualifying round with an emphatic score of 88.66 on his first run. He dominated the competition with the statement performance as he finished a full seven points ahead of the next competitor. While most riders held their tricks close to their chest, McMorris put together an exciting run.
One of those who kept his run fairly simple was White. He finished with a score of 67.33 on his first run to qualify for the finals for the first time since 2009. White won the event in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009.
Heading into the finals, White will surely like his chances to dominate the competition and add to his 17 medals at the Winter X Games. Given his name and status, White's runs will likely be scored higher than the rest of the bunch.
After White dropped out of the competition last year, the two went head-to-head at X Games Tignes. White won the gold, while McMorris finished with silver.
McMorris will need to put together an incredible run to beat out White. With the tricks in his bag, though, McMorris should have every opportunity to win gold and take down White in the process. McMorris is extremely confident in his abilities, but does a great job of knowing what tricks to try and when to do them.
While it seems the finals will come down to one of these two, it could be determined by the triple cork. McMorris was the first to land the trick in a competition, but according to ESPN, White was landing the move in practice this week.
McMorris will be looking to cement himself as the future of snowboarding and replacing White from that position. With a strong run and a gold medal against White in the Slopestyle, McMorris will surely be on his way to doing just that.