Snowmass Grand Prix: Snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe previews

Americans Chloe Kim, left, and Jamie Anderson talking at last years X Games Aspen. The women already have secured spots on the U.S. Olympic snowboard team, but are competing this week at the Snowmass Grand Prix.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |


Women’s qualifier: 9:25 to 11 a.m. Thursday
Men’s qualifiers: 11:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:50 to 3 p.m. Thursday
Final: 1 to 2:45 p.m. Saturday; women start and then rotating finals runs (three runs each)


This is Chloe Kim’s world, and it has been for a few years now. The 17-year-old from California would likely have contended for an Olympic medal in Sochi, but she was too young to qualify for the 2014 Games. The two-time X Games Aspen gold medalist is a lock for the Olympics next month. She’s won both Copper and Dew Tour already this year, and should be the unquestioned favorite entering the Snowmass Grand Prix. The timeless Kelly Clark from Vermont is currently second behind Kim in qualifying, and is all but assured an Olympic spot, as well. Clark, 34, is a five-time X Games Aspen gold medalist and won Olympic gold all the way back in 2002 (Kim wasn’t yet 2). California’s Maddie Mastro, a relative newcomer, and Steamboat’s Arielle Gold sit third and fourth, while veteran stars Elena Hight and Hannah Teter are fifth and sixth. While Kim’s dominance has taken some of the drama out of the women’s halfpipe, the battle for those final couple Olympic spots could be intense. Expected to compete as well in Snowmass is Australia’s Torah Bright, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist and 2014 Olympic silver medalist. Bright has hardly competed the past two years, but seems determined to get back to the Olympics next month.

Women’s Halfpipe Snowboarding
(after 2 of 4 qualifying events)
1. Chloe Kim, 2,000
2. Kelly Clark, 1,400
3. Maddie Mastro, 1,300
4. Arielle Gold, 1,100
5. Elena Hight, 850
6. Hannah Teter, 850
7. Summer Fenton, 720
8. Maddy Barrett, 580
9. Noelle Edwards, 500
10. Taylor Obregon, 480
11. Mary Prantis, 460
12. Zoe Kalapos, 440
13. Ty Schnorrbusch, 420
14. Anna Valentine, 290
15. Savanna Atkins, 220
16. Jenna Dramise, 160


The Olympic hopefuls in the men’s snowboard halfpipe are certainly familiar names. Oregon’s Ben Ferguson is currently the front-runner in terms of points. He’s having a strong season with a second-place finish at Copper where he was the top American and a third-place finish at Dew Tour. Should he finish as the top American in Snowmass, he can book his ticket to South Korea. Joining him could be Eagle’s Jake Pates, who trained with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club back in the day. Pates, 19, is having a breakthrough season, highlighted by his win at Dew Tour. He was 11th at Copper. If he’s feeling any pressure it’s because he has superstars Danny Davis and Shaun White, as well as Ben’s little brother, Gabe Ferguson, breathing down his neck. White, who needs little introduction, is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the halfpipe, although his fourth-place finish in Sochi probably still stings four years later. White was third at the Copper Grand Prix but failed to make the finals at Dew Tour. Davis, one of the most likeable guys in the industry, has a pair of X Games Aspen gold medals and was on the 2014 Olympic team for the U.S., finishing 10th. In the mix in Snowmass are Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, the 2014 Olympic silver medalist, and Australia’s Scotty James, the reigning X Games Aspen gold medalist.

Men’s Halfpipe Snowboarding
(after 2 of 4 qualifying events)
1. Ben Ferguson, 1,800
2. Jake Pates, 1,320
3. Danny Davis, 1,200
4. Shaun White, 1,120
5. Gabe Ferguson, 950
6. Chase Josey, 950
7. Greg Bretz, 800
8. Ryan Wachendorfer, 65
9. Louie Vito, 520
10. Chase Blackwell, 460
11. Toby Miller, 460
12. Brett Esser, 440
13. Josh Bowman, 380
14. Jason Wolle, 290
15. Benji Farrow, 240
16. Matt Ladley, 220


Women’s qualifier: 9 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Wednesday
Men’s qualifiers: 11:45-1:20 p.m. and 2:25-4 p.m. Wednesday
Finals: 9:30-11:25 a.m. Friday; women start and then rotating finals run (3 runs each)


This is an interesting battle considering it includes big air. Snowboarding big air will make its Olympic debut next month for the men and women, and the U.S. is sending the same team for both big air and slopestyle. The first person to have locked up a spot is Summit County’s Chris Corning, a former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete who knows Aspen well. Corning, 18, is quickly becoming a star after taking second in slopestyle at Dew Tour and second in big air at Copper. His first major big air victory of his career came in November at Big Air Milan. With his Olympic bid locked up, Corning is likely to skip the Snowmass Grand Prix to heal a nagging injury. It isn’t serious, and Corning looks to make his X Games Aspen debut in a few weeks. With Corning out, the Snowmass favorite could be the second guy on the qualifying list and one of Corning’s Summit County friends, Red Gerard. The teen phenom was fourth at Dew Tour in slopestyle and 12th in the Copper big air. He has a sizable lead in the Olympic standings over rookies Chandler Hunt and Judd Henkes. Unless a relative veteran like Kyle Mack, who is currently fifth in the Olympic standings, ups his game this week, the U.S. could be sending a group of teenagers to the Olympics for slopestyle and big air.

Men’s Slopestyle Snowboarding
(after 3 of 5 qualifying events)
1. Chris Corning, 2,000
2. Red Gerard, 1,800
3. Chandler Hunt, 1,160
4. Judd Henkes, 1,100
5. Kyle Mack, 1,000
6. Brock Crouch, 950
7. Nik Baden, 900
8. Ryan Stassel, 890
9. Dylan Thomas, 760
10. Brandon Davis, 660
11. Eric Beauchemin, 650
12. Eric Willett, 640
13. Lyon Farrell, 540
14. Chas Guldemond, 530
15. Luke Winkelmann, 440
16. Sean FitzSimons, 380
17. Brett Moody, 260
18. Lukas Caye, 200
19. Keegan Hosefros, 180
20. Asher Humphreys, 160


The top three Olympic spots are pretty well locked up, barring any surprises the next two weeks. Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle, already is qualified for next month’s Games in South Korea. Connecticut’s Julia Marino looks Olympic-bound as well. Marino broke onto the scene last winter when she knocked off Anderson to win X Games Aspen gold in slopestyle. Right next to Marino in the standings is California teen Hailey Langland, who won the first women’s big air snowboarding competition at X Games Aspen last year. This trio will make the U.S. a force in PyeongChang. All three finished in the top six at Dew Tour, led by Anderson’s second-place finish. Marino was second — and first among Americans — while Anderson was fourth at the Copper big air competition. The trio also finished 1-2-3 at the Mammoth Grand Prix last winter, won by Anderson. Veterans Jessika Jenson and Ty Walker, both 2014 Olympians, are battling it out for fourth. International competition in Snowmass could come from Slovakia’s Klaudia Medlova and Dutch Olympian Cheryl Mass.

Women’s Slopestyle Snowboarding
(after 3 of 5 qualifying events)
1. Jamie Anderson, 2,000
2. Julia Marino, 1,600
3. Hailey Langland, 1,600
4. Jessika Jenson, 1,050
5. Ty Walker, 1,000
6. Nora Healey, 850
7. Serena Shaw, 720
8. Hailee Mattingley, 690
9. Kirra Kotsenburg, 610
10. Haille Soderholm, 580
11. Karly Shorr, 360