Canada Snowboard fans were up early in Whistler Saturday morning to watch Mark McMorris take bronze and win Canada's first medal of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

It was also Canada's first medal in a sport making its Olympic debut.

Canada Snowboard's Martin Faubert-Smith was predicting a good outcome early on.

"I think he's in good shape. I think with him, Maxence Parrot and Sebastien Toutant, we've got a great chance to podium," he told the CBC. "The money is on Mark."

Whistler fans groan

Fans and team members watching slopestyle snowboarder Mark McMorris from Whistler groan and hold their heads after the Regina native falls on his first run.

As the 20-year-old took to the starting gate for his first run, Whistler snowboarders and McMorris fans on the other side of the world took a deep breath. With every trick came roars of celebration, every flip bringing McMorris seemingly one step closer to gold —​ and then a collective groan as McMorris fell on his first run.

The high-flying Regina-native landed his tricks, but it wasn't enough to take the top spot. Still, for Snowboard Canada, the competition set a new standard for slopestyle, the newest sport at the Games.

Slopestyle taking off

Canada Snowboard's Brendan Mathews says slopestyle is just going to get better.

"The level of the tricks these guys are doing now is insane compared to what you saw them doing last year or the year before. It continues to progress, so for our younger riders they are just going to have to keep stepping it up," he said.

Mark McMorris gets medal

Regina's Mark McMorris wins bronze, Canada's first medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in the new 'slopestyle' snowboarding event

"We have a pretty solid foundation here and a good core group of guys you just watched compete so they've got some good role models to kinda look up to."

It might not be gold for McMorris,  but for Snowboard Canada, Mathews says, it still glitters all the same.

with files from the CBC's Emily Elias