The term “one and done” is probably the most fitting description for Thursday evening’s men’s halfpipe competition at the European X Games in Tignes, France. Living legend Shaun White making his debut European X Games appearance came out of the gates in a big way. White absolutely rocked the superpipe to earn a staggering 98.00 score to wrap up the gold after his first run.
At the bottom of the pipe after his victory lap, White addressed the 30,000+ fans in attendance, proclaiming, “To everyone here, this is by far better than Aspen!” This a very telling statement for White first European X Games, especially seeing how he earned a perfect 100-point score to claim the gold medal at Winter X Aspen in January.
The near-perfect score was owed to a mammoth cab double cork 1080 to give White his fourth win of the season. Louie Vito, who is fresh from his Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix victory followed closely in second place, displaying his silky smooth style and huge amplitude that solidified his fifth podium of the season.
White came out with a nearly flawless performance, stomping a run that consisted of a front side double cork 1080, to cab double cork 1080, to front side 540, back double cork 1260 to back ally-oop rodeo.
Take a peek at Shaun White’s winning run:
After the event concluded White spoke about his mindset during the third run, saying, “I pretty much was standing at the top of the third run and was thinking of the icy slopestyle course I have to go to and rarely take advantage of a victory lap, so I just had fun and cruised it. It finally hit me at the bottom of the pipe; man this is the first time ever getting a medal at the European X Games. It’s huge for me, I came out here to do well and tonight was an amazing night. I am going to hold my celebration to a minimum until after tomorrow’s slope finals. I was pretty nervous and I don’t really get nervous, I did so many interviews talking about the event and what I wanted to do and I was like ‘Hopefully I can do this?!’ it dawned on me that this was my debut at the Euro X Games and I wanted to give a good show. I definitely felt the pressure from myself and these two guys for sure.”
Louie Vito’s threw down a smooth third run that earned him a 94.33. The run double crippler, double backside rodeo, front side dub cork 1080, cab double cork 1080, front side 1260. His run featured a grab on every hit. Unique to his run were four back-to-back double corks in a row!
Here’s Vito’s killer second place run:
Iouri Podladtchikov scored an 88 on his first run to round out the podium in third place. He went all out during his winning run which included a frontside 900 and a double McTwist 1260.
I-Pod attempted to throw down his newest trick — the switch double McTwist 1260. While he landed it successfully during the summer in New Zealand, he ended up crashing while setting up for it during his final run.
“I wasn’t planning on trying it, but I came around so much on that first double I landed switch. I had speed and was feeling good, so figured I’d try it,” Podladtchikov said. “No one understands how hard that trick is. The pressure to try to do it switch is, like… you don’t know what you’re asking. There’s a reason only Shaun and I do the double McTwist. It’s so scary.”
Notable mentions from the U.S. are Matt Ladley who busted out a big double 1080 in his third run that resulted in an 85.00 score that boosted him into fourth place. Benji Farrow had a couple errors during his first two runs that cost him some points but managed to bring it together in his final run to take sixth.
The action continues Friday when the European X Games wrap up for the snowboarders with the slopestyle competition. The young gun, Seb Toots took first in today’s elimination round — with Shaun White on the scene its going to be exciting to see who comes out on top tomorrow!