Sage Kotsenburg tops men's slopestyle qualifiers at Copper Mtn
US ripper Sage Kotsenburg leads a field of 16 men into this season's second slopestyle finals while Shaun White has already achieved his main goal for the contest.
Kotsenburg, a 20-year-old shredder from Park City, UT, took the top spot of the qualifiers with 94.33 while Norwegian shred machine Torstein Horgmo also broke into the high 90s – with 93.00 to be precise – coming out first of his qualifying heat.
Both riders threw down impressively thus being the main favourites to watch out for for the finals scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 22 at 11 AM MST (7 PM CET).
However, Ryan Stassel (USA, 90.33) and last year's Copper Mountain winner Charles Guldemond (USA, 90.33) were also able to claim a pretty high score and should thus be also pumped to raise the bar when it comes to the battle for the podium.
Click here for the full qualifier results.
White gets what he wants
While Kotsenburg, Stassel and Guldemond are looking good in the race for the national Olympic team spots, their fellow countryman Shaun White, who had sat out the halfpipe event yesterday to give his re-injured ankle a rest, was able to get a big pressure of his shoulders.
By surviving the cut, the reigning Olympic halfpipe champion is officially set to take on the challenge of being among the top-4 US slopestyle riders for the Sochi.
No matter how things will turn out on Sunday, White, who qualified third of heat one (85.66), already achieved what he came to Copper Mountain for: get this mandatory top-30 World Cup finish to be allowed to compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
“It's kind of weird to come here aiming for top-30 because I normally try to win the thing. But I'm really glad that I got that pressure off with the first run and got the score.”
However, other than expected.
“I kind of slammed things together because I haven't really ridden the course yet,” White said after stomping his run (85.66) of gap 270 to frontside 270 on the down-flat-down rail, frontside boardslide 270 out on the rainbow box, 50-50 stall 180 on the canon rail, switch backside double 1080, cab double 1260 and a backside double 1080 to finish things off.
“I didn't want to do that 12 but when I was flying through the air I noticed 'wow I'm spinning way too fast'. But I have to step this run up for the finals.”
The finals will also feature 8 ladies who will drop in in today's qualifiers at 1 PM MST (9 PM CET).
The girls will enter the comp in two heats with the top 4 of each one making it through.