Different Night, Same Result at the Session
The wunderkind once again blew the field away at The Session’s second night Saturday in a super slopestyle competition at Golden Peak.
For the rest of the field, it must get fairly frustrating to see White’s name on the start list for a competition. Second-place finisher Ryan Paris, another child prodigy, perhaps summed it up best.
“It’s tough competing against him,” said Paris. “But I look up to him and it is totally an honor. I was in first for a while and he just turned it up another notch and stuck every trick on his next run. He’s an amazing rider and I have a ton of respect for him.”
To put it in perspective, White finished with a 96.7 on a 100-point scale. No other rider even cracked into the 90s.
The slopestyle course for the night consisted of a series of rails and monster jumps that culminated in a 50-foot tabletop with a gap in the middle that spouted flames and or fireworks after each competitor hit it. The jump was aptly named the Flaming Moe.
“This course was amazing,” said third-place finisher Max Henault. “It is the best slopestyle course we have ridden so far this year.”
The list of tricks these competitors were throwing down all night is endless. To highlight a few there were George Oakley’s backside-rodeo 720s over the Flaming Moe, Shaun White with super-smooth stalefish 720s, Ryan Paris with backside and frontside-cab 900s, and Jennifer Jones floating flawless backside 360s.
Speaking of Jones, she was also a repeat winner in Saturday’s slopestyle after taking home the rail-jam prize on Friday night. A humble Jones had only praise for her fellow competitors after the event.
“I don’t want to seem unappreciative,” said Jones. “But I’m a little confused on the scoring because I thought (second-place finisher) Janna Meyan rode so well today and probably deserved first more than me.”
The scoring was the same as Friday, an open-ended jam session with a time limit. The rider with the best overall run was awarded first place, which means that there is a degree of subjectivity depending on each individual judge’s riding preferences.
“We’re looking for who’s killing it on the kickers and the rails,” explained the International Judging Commission’s founder Greg Johnson. “Basically three different things factor into that. The variety, the difficulty of the trick and the execution, or how clean it’s done.”
At event’s end, there were actually numerous winners. The crowd, who were treated to some of the best riding in the world; the Town of Vail and Vail Resorts for hosting the event; and certainly the riders, who walked away with fatter wallets and the appreciation of an entire riding community for their efforts over the weekend.
There Marco Odermatt was, in the Birds of Prey finish corral following his gutsy super-G run, wondering just how fast he was. As the second skier on course, and the first to finish, the confusion was understandable.