California teen Maddie Mastro closes in on Olympic spot with Snowmass podium |

California teen Maddie Mastro closes in on Olympic spot with Snowmass podium

Chloe Kim on her third run for the women's snowboard superpipe finals in Snowmass on Saturday for the U.S. Grand Prix. Kim came in second with a score of 88.75.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Women’s halfpipe snowboard finals results

1. Queralt Castellet, ESP 91.50

2. Chloe Kim, USA 88.75

3. Maddie Mastro, USA 87.25

4. Kelly Clark, USA 77.75

5. Hikaru Oe, JPN 77

6. Arielle Gold, USA 76.75

7. Kurumi Imai, JPN 73

8. Haruna Matsumoto, JPN 66.75

After two of the three runs, it looked like California teen Maddie Mastro was headed toward her first major victory in women’s halfpipe snowboarding. Fate, Chloe Kim and a three-time Olympian had other ideas, but Mastro was still able to hang on for a crucial podium at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix in Snowmass on Saturday.

“I’m just super happy to land third at an Olympic qualifier and I’m happy with my riding,” the 17-year-old Mastro said. “Every podium is different for me. Small wins in every contest. This is another win in and of itself.”

Mastro’s second-run score of 87.25 was easily enough for third place in the Olympic qualifier. California phenom Chloe Kim, who was already an Olympic lock entering the competition, was second with 88.75 while Spain’s Queralt Castellet won with a run of 91.50. Castellet will compete in her fourth consecutive Winter Olympics next month in South Korea.

Mastro is looking for her first Olympic bid, and she’s in good position with only next week’s Mammoth Grand Prix remaining in the qualification process. She’s neck and neck with 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark and Steamboat’s Arielle Gold for the second spot behind Kim. Clark finished fourth in Saturday’s Snowmass Grand Prix, while Gold was sixth.

“It’s pretty nerve-wracking and surreal to believe I’m that close to doing it,” Mastro said of possibly making the Olympics. “I’m really happy with how my snowboarding is going and the way it’s progressing. I’ve just been having fun and I hope it continues every season, every day, every contest.”

Tahoe’s Elena Hight and Hannah Teter also are in the mix for an Olympic spot, but will likely need to win next week at Mammoth. Neither made the finals in Snowmass.

“It would be super surreal and awesome and almost like a dream come true,” Mastro said. “Anything could happen, so who knows. Everyone’s got the tricks they want and everyone can do them and everyone goes big, so who knows.”