It was the first major contest of the season and the field contained the very best halfpipe snowboarders in the world. At the end of the day it was just like last season because once again it was the same two riders sitting at the top of the podium - Shaun White and fellow Olympian Louie Vito (pictured).
On his first of two runs in the finals, Vito, who has been on an extensive training program since 2011, quickly showed the results of his efforts by stringing an array of tricks together that included back-to-back double cork 1080s - securing a score of 90.0 and putting him into first place.
Watch Louie's run.
Then it was White's turn. He executed a nearly flawless run that included a very large and stylish backside air, back-to-back double cork 1080s, and his patented double Mctwist 1260, to which judges rewarded a 95.25.
Watch Shaun's run.
All eyes turned back to Vito on his second run, and he seemed poised to make a run at White's leading score. Yet the Dancing with the Stars contestant and last year's Dew Cup Champion faltered on the last trick of an otherwise superb run, erasing any chance to overtake White.
"It wasn't as good as I wanted. I didn't get the snap I needed." said an exasperated Vito post-run. "I'm hard on myself; you always want to ride well, but it felt good to get a solid start and carry it on through the rest of the year."
"I have a few tricks I didn't end up doing that I've got in my bag," said Vito, whose solid back-to-back double-cork 1080s earned him silver. "So this was a good start to the year, and I guess I'll start warming those up. I haven't done a lot those tricks since March. I'm not really stressing it. I've got tricks still to do."
Men's Superpipe Final Results:
1. Shaun White (USA)
2. Louie Vito (USA)
3. Taku Hiraoka (Japan)
4. Christian Haller (Switzerland)
5. Ayumu Hirano (Japan)
6. Nathan Johnstone (Australia)
(Other riders in the finals: Scotty Lago, Greg Bretz, Marcus Malin, & Brett Essser)
The next event will be the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, CO, January 7th-13th.