The next generation of snowboarding has arrived.
Of the 16 snowboarders that the U.S. is sending to PyeongChang in the freestyle events (halfpipe, slopestyle and big air), half of them are under the age of 21. And what’s more, many of those riders are legitimate medal contenders.
Though the athletes selected to compete in the racing events (snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom) aren’t as young, there are a lot of first-time Olympians there as well.
Countries can send up to four men and four women to compete in each discipline, depending on how many quota spots they’ve earned. The U.S. will field a full team for halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and snowboard cross, but only selected two men for the parallel giant slalom team.
In total, the U.S. Olympic snowboard team consists of 26 riders. The full roster is below.
The biggest name in snowboarding is back for his fourth Olympics. Already a two-time Olympic champion, Shaun White will once again have a chance to become the first snowboarder to win three gold medals. After a disappointing fourth-place finish in Sochi, he enters PyeongChang as one of the top favorites for gold.
A trio of first-time Olympians – Ben Ferguson, Jake Pates and Chase Josey – also stand a chance to crack the podium.
Ferguson, one of the most stylish riders in the field, is having his best season yet, and 19-year-old Pates has been this year’s breakout rider ever since he stunned the field to win an Olympic qualifier in Breckenridge. Those two qualified for the team through objective criteria, while Josey, a technical rider who does a lot of switch tricks in his runs, received the discretionary spot.
The women’s team features medal contenders across the board. If the U.S. is going to sweep the podium at any event in PyeongChang, this could be the one.
At age 34, Kelly Clark is headed to her fifth Olympics. She’s currently the most decorated snowboarder in Olympic history and could become the oldest American to win a medal in snowboarding.
But the heavy favorite for gold is a girl half Clark’s age. That would be 17-year-old Chloe Kim, who has dominated this event in recent years. In her Olympic debut, she will have a chance to win a medal in South Korea, the country where her parents were born.
Maddie Mastro and Arielle Gold will also both be competing at the Olympics for the first time. Gold actually made the team in 2014 but had to pull out of the competition after injuring her shoulder in practice.
Men’s Slopestyle/Big Air
These four riders will compete in both slopestyle and big air in PyeongChang. All except for Ryan Stassel are first-time Olympians.
Although Canadian and Norwegian riders top the list of favorites in both disciplines, Chris Corning and Red Gerard will give Team USA its best shots at a medal, particularly in slopestyle. Corning has been one of the biggest risers in snowboarding over the last two years.
Stassel finished 14th in slopestyle at the last Olympics.
Women’s Slopestyle/Big Air
Four years after winning the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s slopestyle, Jamie Anderson remains one of top favorites in that event.
First-time Olympians Hailey Langland and Julia Marino will also be names to watch. Not only will those two be medal threats in slopestyle, but they both have progressive tricks that will put them among the favorites in big air.
Jessika Jenson, who earned a spot on the team as a discretionary pick, was on the 2014 Olympic team as well. She finished 13th in slopestyle in Sochi.
As with the men’s team, all four riders will compete in both slopestyle and big air at the Olympics.
Men’s Snowboard Cross
Jonathan Cheever was the only boardercross racer to qualify for the team through objective criteria. In the offseason, he makes money by working as a plumber.
Of the three athletes named to the team as discretionary picks, Nick Baumgartner is the only one with past Olympic experience. The 36-year-old competed at the last two Olympics and has a best finish of 20th.
Hagen Kearney, who plays guitar in a rock band in Salt Lake City on the side, was No. 5 in last year’s World Cup rankings.
Women’s Snowboard Cross
Lindsey Jacobellis is back for her fourth Olympics. In 2006, she famously won a silver medal despite wiping out while leading the final race. In her last two Olympics, she crashed out in the semifinals, but Jacobellis remains one of the favorites. She’s coming off her fifth world title in 2017 and currently leads this season’s World Cup standings.
This will be the third Olympics for Faye Gulini. She was fourth in Sochi, the top result among U.S. athletes.
Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom
The U.S. has not won a medal in men’s parallel giant slalom since 2002 and will be underdogs again in PyeongChang. Muss has been the top American this season with a pair of sixth-place finishes in parallel giant slalom World Cup events.