The snowboard world is split between two contests this week.
On one side of the globe, you have the Laax Open in Switzerland. This event is part of the World Cup series and presents the final chance for riders to earn points before the Olympic qualifying period officially comes to a close. Many of the heavy hitters on the international side are expected to compete there.
Here in the States, though, the focus is on the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth. This week, Mammoth Mountain will host the final selection event in both halfpipe and slopestyle for the U.S. Olympic snowboard team. With many of the top international riders in Switzerland right now, the fields at Mammoth will predominantly be made up of American athletes.
Last week at Snowmass, four more riders secured their nominations onto the U.S. Olympic team, bringing the current total to seven confirmed athletes. By the end of this week, at least five new snowboarders will join the team.
The U.S. can send no more than four men and four women in each discipline. Up to three of those four spots will be determined through automatic nomination at the qualifying events, with any remaining spots distributed next week at the discretion of the coaching staff.
A breakdown of each discipline heading into the final qualifier is below.
After 3 of 4 qualifying events:
1. Ben Ferguson, 1800* (QUALIFIED)
2. Shaun White, 1800* (QUALIFIED)
3. Jake Pates, 1800* (QUALIFIED)
4. Danny Davis, 1200
5. Chase Josey, 1000
6. Gabe Ferguson, 950
7. Greg Bretz, 800*Has fulfilled minimum criteria (one podium finish)
The three automatic bids are going to Ben Ferguson, Shaun White and Jake Pates. All three riders secured their spots on the Olympic team after last week’s contest at Snowmass.
A fourth rider will be added to the Olympic team as a discretionary selection, but who will it be? As of now, Danny Davis and Chase Josey look like the top two contenders for that spot, but Gabe Ferguson and Greg Bretz have also been solid. This is the last chance for everyone to state their case.
After 3 of 4 qualifying events:1. Chloe Kim, 2000* (QUALIFIED)
2. Maddie Mastro, 1600*
3. Kelly Clark, 1400*
4. Arielle Gold, 1100*
5. Hannah Teter, 900
6. Elena Hight, 850*Has fulfilled minimum criteria (one podium finish)
Two riders will clinch spots at Mammoth, while another woman will be added as a discretionary selection next week.
Maddie Mastro, Kelly Clark and Arielle Gold are currently in good position for those three spots. Mastro and Clark can officially qualify by finishing first or second among U.S. riders. Gold would clinch her spot by finishing as the top American. Only two of them can automatically qualify for the team, but the third would have a strong case for being added as the team’s discretionary pick.
Torino Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter and reigning X Games champion Elena Hight have outside shots to qualify for the team as well. Teter and Hight need to get the top American result, finish on the podium, and also have Clark finish third or lower among Americans.
Men’s slopestyle/big air
After 4 of 5 qualifying events:
1. Red Gerard, 2000* (QUALIFIED)
2. Chris Corning, 2000* (QUALIFIED)
3. Chandler Hunt, 1400*
4. Ryan Stassel, 1400
5. Judd Henkes, 1100
6. Kyle Mack, 1000*
7. Brock Crouch, 950
8. Eric Willett, 900
9. Nik Baden, 900
10. Dylan Thomas, 800*
11. Brandon Davis, 800*Has fulfilled minimum criteria (one podium finish)
One automatic spot on the team is still up for grabs, and nine different riders have a chance to claim it.
Chandler Hunt, Kyle Mack or Dylan Thomas would qualify by finishing as the top American in the field. Ryan Stassel and Judd Henkes would need to do the same, but also finish on the podium. All the aforementioned riders, with the exception of Thomas, could also potentially make the team with lower finishes but would need some help.
Brock Crouch, Nik Baden, Eric Willett and Brandon Davis are still mathematically in contention, but they would need to have the top American result, finish on the podium, and get some help.
Women’s slopestyle/big air
After 4 of 5 qualifying events:1. Jamie Anderson, 2000* (QUALIFIED)
2. Julia Marino, 1600*
3. Hailey Langland, 1600*
4. Jessika Jenson, 1600
5. Ty Walker, 1300
6. Haille Soderholm, 920*Has fulfilled minimum criteria (one podium finish)
Only Jamie Anderson has mathematically qualified, leaving two automatic spots still in play. It looked like Julia Marino and Hailey Langland would lock up those spots without much issue, but after both riders missed the final at Snowmass, this race got a lot tighter.
Jessika Jenson was able to pull into a tie with Marino and Langland at 1600 points but has not yet met objective criteria. In order to be eligible for automatic nomination to the team, riders need at least one top-three result during the selection events. Marino and Langland have a podium finish, but Jenson does not yet.
Marino will qualify if she’s first or second among U.S. riders, and Langland will qualify if she’s the top American. Both could also secure their spots with lower results but would need help.
Jenson could confirm her spot on the team with a top-two U.S. finish but would need to be on the podium as well. Ty Walker and Haille Soderholm are mathematically in contention too but, at a minimum, would need to be the top American and also finish on the podium.