Torstein Horgmo, Mark McMorris, Stale Sandbech top Men’s Slopestyle Eliminations, X Games Aspen 2014

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

Under blue skies and a blazing sun, 16 of snowboarding’s top slopestyle riders battled it out on the X Games slope course, vying to earn a spot in the Men’s Slopestyle Finals.

Slope Eliminations whittled down the competition field to the top 8 riders, who will be returning to the course on Sunday for Men’s finals. After the first round of runs, Torstein Horgmo topped the leader board with a 93.33, followed closely by Chas Guldemond — who qualified for the US Olympic slopestyle team just last weekend — with a 90 and Max Parrot with an 88.66.

Sage Kotsenburg, hot off of a win at the finale of the Grand Prix series, put the style back in slope, laying out a smooth 360 Euro carve at the beginning of each of his two runs. Unfortunately Kotsenburg didn’t land either run, meaning that he won’t be riding in Sunday’s finals.

Come second runs, Stale Sandbech stepped up to throw down a solid run, earning a 91.66 and a temporarily second place position. Guldemond upped his first run and put down a 91.00 for his second, but couldn’t hold on to the top three, as Mark McMorris made up for a mediocre first run by laying out a smooth second run, earning a 92.00 from the judges, and ending qualifiers sitting comfortably in second place.

Guldemond, who is heading into finals in fourth place, finished each of his runs seriously stoked, as he explained saying “the last three weeks have been incredibly stressful, the qualification process sucked, and it was really hard on me mentally. I really wanted to get excited about X Games because it’s the best event of the year, to be able to come here and throw two of the best runs of my life was awesome.

“It [Mammoth] was definitely gnarly. My body was tired, mentally I was just exhausted. So I had to kind of reset. This is the Olympics of snowboarding, always has been. We’v got the Olympics coming up, there’s going to be a lot of media there and this is a total warm up its perfect training for the Olympic madness that we’re about to get into.

Full results:
1. Torstein Horgmo — 93.33
2. Mark McMorris — 92.00
3. Stale Sandbech — 91.66
4. Chas Gulemond — 90.00
5. Max Parrot — 88.66
6. Emil Ulsletten — 87.33
7. Sebastien Toutant — 85.00
8. Aleksander Oestreng — 84.00

9. Billy Morgan — 71.66
10. Seppe Smits — 71.00
11. Brandon Davis — 66.00
12. Sven Thorgren — 65.33
13. Gjermund Braaten — 57.00
14. Halldor Helgason — 44.33
15. Sage Kotsenburg — 32.33
16. Ulrik Badertscher — 20.33