The stakes are high at the FIS Snowboard World Championships at Stoneham, Quebec, Canada as riders are looking to stack points towards Olympic qualification for Sochi in 2014.
Local favorite and 2010 FIS World Championship slopestyle winner, Mark McMorris went all in on both of his runs during slopestyle finals, maintaining first spot nearly all the way to the finish. But, with just five riders left on course, Finnish sensation Roope Tonteri pulled it together with the run of the day, clinching the top spot, bumping McMorris down to silver. Janne Korpi, also from Finland, grabbed bronze.
On the women's front, Spencer O'Brien became the first Canadian rider to win a FIS World Championship title on home soil. Her first run was the day's high at 93.25 points, which put her nearly 12 points ahead of Switzerland's Sina Candrian, who came in second ahead of Australia's Torah Bright.
Yes, you read that right: The 2010 Olympic Halfpipe Gold medalist came in third in a slopestyle contest. It looks like Bright's head is back in the competitive game.
Despite weather conditions bad enough to cancel men's semifinals and postpone women's qualifiers the day before, the slopestyle finals took place under clear, crisp skies on Friday. The slopestyle setup was surprisingly good. Riders dropped into a three-jump line, which progressively stepped up from 58 to 62 to 70 feet. The rail section finished off with a 45-foot butter box that ended in either a fun box or down rail, before finishing things off on a rail set.
"I just put all in," Tonteri said, "and it just happened that I landed the run. I didn't expect anything special. I just tried my best and wanted to see what would come out."
Tonteri took the win with a Cab 1260 Indy, frontside 1080 lien, backside 1260 mute, half Cab to lipslide, boardslide to 270 out.
O'Brien won with a backside 540 mute, switch Backside 180 Indy, frontside 720 lien, frontside lipslide, 50-50 to front 180 out. "It's incredible to win the World Championships in my home country." O'Brien said. "Actually, I'd never competed in Canada before. So, it's really cool to win gold here in front of a home crowd."
Some of Quebec's best competitors, including hometown hero Seb Toutant, aren't competing at the worlds because they are across the world riding in the World Snowboard Tour's 6Star O'Neill Evolution contest. The main event, the Evolution Big Air, takes place in Davos, Switzerland Saturday -- the same night that the FIS World Championships Big Air goes down in Quebec City. We'll have coverage of both events right here. FIS WC halfpipe finals take place on Sunday. This is the last big event before the X Games.
FIS World Championships: Men's Slopestyle Finals
FIS World Championships: Women's Slopestyle Finals