TIGNES, France — Friday was a tough day for favorites at X Games Tignes.
All four of the day’s events saw the favorites fall by the wayside — including the final one, where Frenchwoman Marie Martinod-Routin won the women’s SuperPipe. Martinod-Routin left the sport in 2006 to have a family, but returned following the death of Sarah Burke. She won wearing a tribute to Burke on her helmet.
Another Frenchwoman, Anais Caradeux, won the silver and Maddie Bowman — the reigning X Games Aspen gold medalist and pre-event favorite — was third.
“It’s probably the first time I’ve had so many friends at the bottom and all my family, and everything I can say is that I heard you guys,” Martinod-Routin said, celebrating with her daughter from the bottom of the pipe after the competition. “I heard you screaming and shouting so loud, it just gave me so much power.”
Asked to explain why she returned, Marinod-Routin said: “One night … Sarah Burke passed by and said ‘Marie, you have to be back, there’s going to be Olympics: You never did that before. You have to come,'” she said, explaining her return and new motivation. “And that’s it. It’s the beginning.”
Her title wasn’t the only unexpected one of the day.
In the Men’s Ski Superpipe, 17-year-old Torin Yater-Wallace won his second X Games gold, beating X Games Aspen gold medalist David Wise and French favorite Kevin Rolland in the process.
Yater-Wallace won the competition on his third run, posting a score of 93.66. Wise and Rolland had climbed to the top of the leaderboard on their second runs — Wise scoring 92 and Rolland scoring 91.66, much to the delight of a huge French crowd.
But after Yater-Wallace jumped to the lead, neither Wise nor Rolland — going last in the field — could top him.
“I saw Kevin’s run and he’s like, the most talented halfpipe skier,” Yater-Wallace said after seeing Rolland’s final run. “If he had landed that run, I couldn’t even imagine how high his score would have been. He’s on a mission.”
Yater-Wallace has made the podium in every X Games event he’s entered, since his first in 2011, with six medals total from Tignes and Aspen.
Wise had won two of the three major competitions since Aspen, including the world championships in Oslo, Norway. He qualified second for the finals, behind Rolland. Yater-Wallace was the fifth-best qualifier.
“Torin and I have had this amazing rivalry going on all year,” Wise said. “I know I always have to bring my A-game when he’s around. It’s going to be a blast skiing against him next year at the Olympics.”
Sebastien Toutant edged fellow Canadian Mark McMorris to win the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle title. McMorris had been looking to join Shaun White as the only snowboarders to win more than two X Games gold medals in Slopestyle.
Also, Norway’s Silje Norendal upset two-time defending X Games Tignes champion Jamie Anderson in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final on the last day of the three-day competition.
Toutant put up a 95 on his second run, then watched McMorris — the winner in the event at X Games Aspen 2013 — take two shots at catching him. McMorris got close on his second run, scoring a 94, but he couldn’t overcome Toutant.
Peetu Piiroinen won the bronze medal.
For Toutant, it was his first X Games gold since Aspen in 2011. He won a silver in Tignes in 2011. A solid triple cork on the second run proved to be the difference. McMorris also landed a triple.
“It wasn’t my best season so far, but I’m stoked to end up with a win here in France, stoked my backside triple cork worked out today, and stoked to ride with all my friends,” Toutant said.
Torstein Horgmo, the top qualifier from Thursday’s elimination round, fell in Run 2 and injured his ankle. He did not make a third run. He remains without a medal in X Games Slopestyle.
Also on Friday, Norway’s Silje Norendal upset two-time defending X Games Tignes champion Jamie Anderson in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final.
Anderson has seven Snowboard Slopestyle medals at X Games Aspen as well. She called the competition in Tignes “the best contest of the year.”
Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas finished third.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Norendal said. “[This] is such a good event for all the girls to show what we can do. We saw a 10 today and so much progression. It’s just sick.”
It was a big day for progression in women’s Slopestyle, with Aimee Fuller landing a double backflip and a cab underflip tail grab and Sina Candrian attempting 1080s.
Information from XGames.com’s Melissa Larsen and Colin Bane was included in this report.