By Jason Blevins
The Denver Post
As Shaun White ramps up for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, all eyes will be watching him in the slopestyle competition next week at Aspen’s Winter X Games.
He’s gunning to compete in both halfpipe and slopestyle in Sochi and is pretty much a lock for the halfpipe team. His push for slopestyle is less certain, despite his enthusiasm and a list of slopestyle win that eclipses his halfpipe tally.
“I love to compete in slopestyle,” he said last month in an interview before the Breckenridge Dew Tour, where he won the halfpipe competition and didn’t compete in the slopestyle event. “It’s definitely more exciting to me than halfpipe right now.”
After two seasons off from slopestyle competition to prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics halfpipe, White’s return to the realm of money booters foundered. He failed to make the finals in the 2011 X Games and qualified last in the 2012 X Games. The next month he won the X Games slopestyle comp in Tignes, France with back-to-back double corks.
But double corks, while the double-flipping winners in the pipe, are so 2011 in slopestyle. Teenager Mark McMorris and Canadian Sebastian Toots battled in last year’s X Games slopestyle contest with dueling backside triple-cork 1440s. (That’s four rotations and three flips — and pretty much ridiculous.)
So the question has been whether White would develop the triple cork in time for a slopestyle showdown on the X Games Buttermilk course. Videos posted Wednesday from White’s practice sessions in Breckenridge’s terrain park seem to indicate that he’s ready.