Adams fourth in X Games freeski pipe |

Adams fourth in X Games freeski pipe

The aspen times/jim ryanFrance's Kevin Rolland completes a rotation on his third run in Friday's superipe finals. Rolland won the event.

Looking on the bright side, Duncan Adams has now moved up one place in each of his three appearances in the Winter X Games freeski superpipe finals.

He was sixth as a 16-year-old rookie in 2009, fifth last year and – after France’s Kevin Rolland landed the gold-medal run as the final athlete to drop into the pipe – Adams had to settle for fourth place Friday night.

The 2009 Summit High grad actually held the lead for a good portion of the finals after he scored an 86.0 on his second of three runs.

But Simon Dumont bested him later in that same run with a 90.33 – only to have 15-year-old Torin Yater-Wallace of Aspen top that in the third run. Yater-Wallace, the youngest competitor at Winter X this year, held the lead until Rolland dropped in for that final run.

Rolland threw two double corks and a soaring, switch 1080 to win the event for the second straight year. It was easily the cleanest run of the night, as for the most part, skiers struggled in Buttermilk’s 22-foot pipe.

“I won last year but it was different this year. The pressure was just so high at the top,” Rolland told The Aspen Times. “Then I hit my double at the end and I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s done now.'”

Dumont wasn’t able to put down a run that even closely resembled his winning routine at the Dew Tour stop in Breckenridge in late December. He slipped out in both his first and third runs, and his second was certainly on the safe side for one of the world’s best freeskiers.

And Canadian Justin Dorey – the winner of the U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix at Copper Mountain – didn’t land a single clean run in the finals and never truly challenged for a medal like so many predicted he would.

Adams, a former Team Summit athlete, is continuing a strong season after being plagued with back issues all last year.

Summit County native Eric Willett put together a smooth, clean run featuring two double corks and advanced out of Friday’s snowboard slopestyle elimination round.

Willett, the silver medalist in the event a year ago, made his routine look, well, routine in finishing seventh out of 16 riders with a score of 86.0.

The top-eight riders move on to Sunday’s final – and five-time X Games slope champ and snowboarding superstar Shaun White won’t be one of them.

After taking nearly two years off of slope competition, White struggled to keep up with the high-flying field. White finished 13th, but surprisingly, wasn’t too disappointed.

“I love the fact that I’m being challenged. It’s the best feeling in the world. I’ve finally gotten that boost of ‘wow, this is what’s to come and this is where I need to be,'” White told The Denver Post. “I’m so inspired right now to go learn things. I definitely amped up to go and ride the halfpipe, which I’m feeling geared up for. I’m just happy that I was able to show up and do my best. That’s why I’m here.”

Meanwhile, teenager Sebastien Toutant definitely looked like he was there to win. The Canadian set an X Games record by scoring a 97 on his third run.

It put him a head of Torstein Horgmo – winner of both Dew Tour stops this season – and Mark McMorris, who was third.

Chas Guldemond, Mikkel Bang, Tyler Flanagan and Halldor Helgason also advanced.

Willett also competed in Friday’s big-air competition. He was eliminated in the first heat, finishing just seven points behind Scotty Lago for the last spot in the finals.

Horgmo took gold in the event, as Toutant was second and Sage Kotsenburg was third.

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