For freeskiing and snowboard athletes hoping to earn a spot on the United States Winter Olympic team that will head to PyeongChang in just over a month, the qualification process is in full swing. Halfpipe and slopestyle athletes have competed in anywhere from one to three qualification events so far with more to come, including a stop here in Aspen this week and weekend for the 2018 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix. A few qualification events have been completed, including the Dew Tour last month, but the majority of both the teams have yet to be confirmed.

How It Works

The qualification process isn’t overly complicated. First, to be Winter Olympic eligible, an athlete — from any country — must place in the top 30 at any FIS World Cup event or at the 2017 FIS World Championships in their respective discipline and score a minimum of 50 FIS points.

From there, the U.S. athletes have their own set of criteria to meet. The team has earned the maximum amount of quota spots — 16 men and 16 women among five disciplines. In order to earn one of these coveted spots, U.S. athletes must have at least two, top-three finishes at the qualification events. If four or more athletes have at least two podium finishes, the points they earn with each of those finishes will come into play to rank who makes the team.

Who to Watch

So far, Chris Corning has secured his spot on the snowboard slopestyle team, Jamie Anderson will represent the U.S. on the snowboard slopestyle team, and Chloe Kim has secured her spot on the snowboard halfpipe team.

Other athletes to watch on the men’s snowboard slopestyle side include 17-year-old Colorado native, Red Gerrard and Rev tour standout Chandler Hunt. The men’s halfpipe field hasn’t solidified any competitors yet to the team, but three-time Olympian Shaun White is in the hunt with one podium finish and brothers Ben and Gabe Ferguson are strong contenders as well.

Former Olympians Kelly Clark and Arielle Gold as well as newcomer Maddie Mastro are hoping to join Chloe Kim on the women’s snowboarding team. Up-and-comers Hailey Langland and Julia Marino hope to join veteran Jamie Anderson in PyeongChang in the slopestyle and big-air disciplines.
On the freeski side, nothing is a sure thing as of yet.

Aspen locals Torin Yater-Wallace (pictured) and Alex Ferreira are near the top of the list to make the halfpipe team. Placing well and earning their spot this weekend on their home turf will be top-of-mind for those two athletes.

Sochi gold-medalist Maddie Bowman and dual-threat Devin Logan also look poised to earn their spots this weekend in Aspen.
Torin Yater Wallace
Torin Yater Wallace

The slopestyle competition is a little more wide open as only one event has been held for the men and two for the women. Sochi medalist Nick Goepper was the only U.S. male to reach the podium on the Dew Tour (the only qualifying event thus far for men), and is currently leading the pack. Maggie Voisin has been the most consistent female on the slopestyle side but still only has one top-three finish which came last February at the Mammoth Grand Prix. Sochi team members Bobby Brown, Gus Kenworthy, and Devin Logan are all looking to contend under the rings once again in the slopestyle event in PyeongChang, while newcomers Alex Hall, Cody LaPlante, Darian Stevens, and Taylor Lundquist are fighting for their right to represent the U.S.
The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix this weekend is poised to play a large role in the qualification picture with five qualification events. The freeski slopestyle men will have two opportunities to land on the podium as they complete in a double-header, while Aspen locals are hoping to shine in the men's freeskiing halfpipe competition.

How to Experience It

Locals and visitors to Aspen Snowmass are encouraged to come cheer on the Olympians and Olympic hopefuls.
The competition will be held at the terrain park at Snowmass, and it all kicks off Wednesday with ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle qualifiers before switching on Thursday to ski slopestyle and snowboard halfpipe qualifiers. Finals get underway on Friday with snowboard slopestyle starting at 9:30am and ski halfpipe at 1pm. Saturday swaps again with ski slopestyle finals at 9:30am and snowboard halfpipe finals at 1pm. Sunday is a bonus round for ski slopestyle — their second contest of the weekend and additional qualifying event — with qualifiers starting at 9:10am and finals at 2pm.

NBC and NBC Sports Network will be broadcasting the events Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Get more information via the link below.
2018 Toyota US Grand Prix
2018 Toyota US Grand Prix

2018 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix

Get the Schedule & Details

Published on January 2018

About the Author

Nicole Birkhold
Nicole Birkhold

NICOLE BIRKHOLD

With nothing but a pair of skis and a journalism degree from Michigan State University, Nicole headed west looking for mountains, snow, and someone to pay her to put words to paper. She found the writing gig in Freeskier Magazine for ten years, but needed to be closer to the mountains to she packed it up and came to Aspen where she still crafts words but with more time on the snow.