Garcia Knight and Parrot top big air qualifiers
When triples ain't enough – today's qualifiers for the inaugural Olympic big air event staged in the Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games was an incredible show and a perfect display of how men's snowboarding has progressed in the recent years.
Over the last season's, riders had been wowing the crowd and judges with a variety of triple spins in order to make it on the podium.
But with the kicker in South Korea on point and the biggest stage for winter sports all set, the 34 riders coming from 16 countries were ready to step it up.
In fact they had to in order to make it through to the finals of the best twelve qualifiers as the field had been broken up in two heats where only the best six riders each would eventually proceed to the big show.
As a result, it was go big or go home time in this two run, best one count qualifier format where riders decided to spice up there frontside and backside triples with more than just a 'we have seen it enough' mute grab to impress the judges.
While high profile Chris Corning (USA) as well as Nicolas Huber (SUI) or Alberto Maffei (ITA) opted for the melon, Kyle Mack (USA) set the bar high style-wise with his beautiful japan.
Those who weren't going for the triple magic had to enter the spin to win game with some master pieces of flat spins to not blow their chance on a spot in the finals.
While Niklas Mattsson (SWE) was able to stomp his backside 1620 mute qualifying second in heat 1 with a 90.00 Stale Sandbech was the first to miss out the final as seventh not being able to improve his score for his frontside 1440 tail in his final run.
It's been a ridiculous strong competition as a 84.75 for the Norwegian wasn't enough to make it to the finals as Olympic slopestyle Gold medallist Red Gerard (USA) bumped Sandbech off the bubble with a 'mandatory' backside triple 1440 mute and the tiny advantage of 0.25 (85.00).
However, the top qualifier was just as expected Max Parrot who threw down a frontside triple 1440 to walk away with a 92.50 leading Mattsson, Mack (88.75), Corning (88.00), Michael Schaerer (SUI; 87.00) and Gerard to the finals.
And if the first heat wasn't enough of an exciting battle for the finals, heat two got even more thrilling action in store with huge scores being rewarded and some more pre-event podium picks missing out their shot for a medal.
Actually, the second split of the qualifiers went even bigger in this send it game with Carlos Garcia Knight earning the highest score of the day with a 97.50 for his massive switch backside triple 1620.
While Jonas Boesiger (SUI; 96.00) also stomped a backside triple 1620, Mark McMorris (CAN; 95.75) went big with his switch backside 1620, too.
And also Torgeir Bergrem (SWE; 94.25) with his backside 1620 and Sebastien Toutant (CAN; 91.00) with a Cab 1620 triple cork advanced to the finals thanks to their big spins while Billy Morgan (GBR; 90.50) was the only one of heat 2 to survive the qualifier cut performing 'only' a backside triple cork nose in his second run.
That said, he still had to wait for some heavy hitters but neither Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) nor Vlad Khadarin (RUS) who went for an 1800 couldn't beat Morgan's score.
And also like heat 1, heat 2 got his Norway in shock moment with odds-on favourite Marcus Kleveland as sitting down on his backside 1620 which equalled the early end of his Olympic dreams.
As a results, one rider rider from Great Britain, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand as well as two Swiss and trios from the US and Canada will go all in for the historical first Olympic big air Gold on Saturday 24 FEB 10:00 (2:00 CET).