The 26-year-old triple World Champion from Warrandyte in Victoria put down an impressive opening run scoring 93.75 points to lead all competitors after the first round of finals.
In his second run, James had another strong performance scoring 86.50 but was unable to better his first run in the best of two finals format.
Going past James in the second run to take the win was Yuto Totsuka from Japan on 95.25 points, with his teammates Ruka Hirano in third place with a score of 88.25.
The podium performance is the 11th World Cup medal of James career (6 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze).
“I’m getting my amplitude and execution back and just feeling good snowboarding,” James said, “I mean, it’s been a long time since I’ve really been in the pipe but those Japanese guys, while I was sitting home on the couch in quarantine in Australia not able to go anywhere, they had a halfpipe and they were working hard.”
“So I’m really excited (with second place). I’ve got a smile under my mask.”
It was a spectacular debut event by Australian 15-year-old snowboarding prodigy Valentino Guseli, who shocked the winter sports world by blitzing the field in qualifying for finals in first place.
In the final the teen sensation from the NSW south coast finished in eighth place, an amazing result in his first ever World Cup debut.
“Had the greatest experience In Laax this year, thanks for everyone’s support and help,” Guseli posted after the event.
“Can’t wait to come back again stronger next year.”
James will next be in action at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado, USA, where he will be aiming for his third straight victory at the event on Sunday January 31.