No medals were on the line in the Jeep Snowboard Slopestyle elimination round at X Games Aspen, but that didn't diminish the statement made by Mark McMorris ahead of Shaun White.
With months of anticipation finally playing out Thursday under gray skies on Buttermilk Mountain, McMorris posted the No. 1 qualifying score -- 88.66 on his first of two runs -- while White struggled to land his jumps cleanly and finished seventh (67.33). Neither rider attempted a triple cork, which has fast become snowboarding's most technical and electrifying trick and likely will determine Saturday's champion. Eight of the 16 competitors moved on to the final, with a number of big names missing the cut.