ASPEN, Colo. -- Mark McMorris spent months preparing to battle Shaun White in Snowboard Slopestyle at X Games Aspen, but as it turned out, not even White, a five-time gold medalist in this event, was up to challenging McMorris.
The 19-year-old Canadian defended his 2012 gold medal in superlative fashion, posting the day's top two scores and winning with his third-run 98.00, the highest score in X Games Slopestyle history. That run placed an exclamation point on a competition in which three competitors landed backside triple cork 1440s, a first for the Slopestyle discipline.
White fell on his final two runs after landing the first triple cork of the day in his opening run, and settled for fifth place.
"I'm so glad it's over," said McMorris, who showed no fatigue from his silver-medal performance in Navy Snowboard Big Air the night before. "I proved myself the way I wanted to and I'm just a happy camper. I landed a run I don't think I've ever done, really."
McMorris added of White: "He's got all the tricks, but he's just getting back into it."
Much like last year's X Games Aspen SuperPipe final, when White earned the first 100-point score in SuperPipe or Slopestyle history, McMorris raised the bar when he could have coasted down the course on a victory lap. He added a difficult cab double cork 1260 to his last run, which bumped his score from 94.66 to 98.00.
"I came here to do the cab 12 and I just felt like it needed to be done," McMorris said. "The course was too good not to do that run."
From start to finish, his winning run unfolded as follows: cab 270 to fakie on the down rail, switch lipslide on the up rail, front blunt sameway 270, boardslide gap boardslide to fakie, cab 1260 double cork, frontside 1080 double cork, double wildcat, backside triple cork 1440.
White made a point of waiting around the finish corral to congratulate McMorris before leaving the venue.
"I'm going to let this soak in and hopefully turn it into a motivator," said White, who hopes to challenge McMorris for the 2014 Olympic gold medal when Slopestyle debuts in Russia.
First, though, he'll try to win his sixth straight X Games SuperPipe gold medal on Sunday night.
Another Canadian teenager, 18-year-old X Games rookie Max Parrot, earned silver with a triple cork of his own, and Belgium's Seppe Smits claimed bronze. Parrot only learned the triple cork two weeks ago in Switzerland but landed it with perfect style to earn a 90.00.