X Rated: Who to watch out for in Aspen, Part 2

Mark McMorris poses for a portrait during the Red Bull Ultra Natural at Bald Face Lodge in Nelson, BC, Canada on February 14th, 2013
© Tim Zimmerman/Red Bull Content Pool

Winter X Games Aspen – it’s the biggest snow on Earth! These are the Slopestyle names to watch.

X is the mathematical unknown, a kiss, a dirty movie rating, and a generation getting too old to compete at X Games. X also stands for eXtreme… here are our riders to watch out for in Slopestyle and Big Air at X Games 2014.

Sebastien Toutant and Mark McMorris pose with their full snowboarding gear on the slopes of Tignes during the X Games
O Canada! Sebastien Toutant & Mark McMorris© Sebastian Marko/Red Bull Content Pool

Mark McMorris
With a huge bag of tricks and incredible consistency, this confident Canadian is the current two-time reigning Winter X Games Slopestyle champion, and there’s no doubt that he’ll be aiming for a 3-peat this weekend in Aspen. McMorris, or McLovin’ as he’s known to his friends, was on top form at last month’s Dew Tour event in Colorado, where he scored a near-perfect score and left his opponents for dust.

Sebastien Toutant
Seb is another rider who’s been killing it for so long it’s hard to believe he’s only 21, but it’s true. Recently it seems like Seb’s been taking his rail game to some gnarly-looking street spots, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s got some new moves in the jib section. The third rider to ever pull a triple, if Seb can stomp his Backside Triple Cork 1440’s clean all week, he’ll definitely be a contender for some podium action.

Torstein Horgmo© Danny Burrows

Torstein Horgmo
One of the biggest freestyle stars, as his X Games medal stash will testify. He was the first rider to land a triple ever, way back in 2010, and he’s been stomping them ever since. Looking at the stats sheet for ‘Torgmo’, three golds in Big Air and three silvers in Slopestyle over the past five years tells you all you need to know: Horgmo is always a threat.

Max Parrot
At only 19 years of age, this French-Canadian has a short but extremely impressive contest record: silver at last year’s X Games and bronze at last December’s Dew Tour. Technical rail skills and a wide variety of double corks are two reasons why Max is a threat: stomping the first ever Slopestyle triple at X Games 2013 is another.

Ståle Sandbech
Even though he’s only 20 years old, this cheeky Norwegian has been around for years: at 16 he became Norway’s youngest-ever Olympian, at 18 he became the youngest-ever TTR world champion, and today he is regarded by many as the best all-round freestyle snowboarder in the world; as comfortable on street rails as he is on the Slopestyle course or in the Superpipe. With at least two triples on lockdown, Ståle is always a Slopestyle or Big Air contender.

Outside bets:

Shaun White may have been notoriously written off as not a threat by Mark McMorris last year, but the fact remains Shaun is one of the most focused, competitive people in action sports, and if he is on top of his game in Aspen, there’s no doubt he’d love to make Mark eat his words.

Halldor Helgason and Ulrik Badertscher like to put it all on the line, usually placing first or last as a result. Wildcards like them are what keeps snowboarding fresh and fun, and we know they’ll be putting on a show in Aspen.

Enni Rukajärvi
Enni Rukajärvi© Jason Horton

Meanwhile, in the Women’s Slopestyle event, Jamie Anderson continues to be the woman to beat, with four Slopestyle gold medals to her name. Finland’s Enni Rukajärvi is always a threat, while newcomer Aimee Fuller (UK) is definitely on the rise – 2013 saw Aimee become the first female to land a double backflip!

Aimee Fuller poses for a portrait at Red Bull Snow Performance Camp in Sun Valley, Idaho, USA on December 5, 2012
Aimee Fuller - Portrait© Brian Nevins/Red Bull Content Pool