Hirano, Mastro lead snowboard halfpipe qualifying at Dew; Kim, White advance

Japan’s Ayumu Hirano competes in the men’s halfpipe snowboarding Dew Tour qualifier on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at Copper Mountain. Hirano placed first in qualifying.
Photo courtesy of Dew Tour

Japanese snowboarder Ayumu Hirano easily led men’s halfpipe qualifying on Thursday from Dew Tour at Copper Mountain. The two-time reigning Olympic silver medalist and former X Games champion scored 94 on the second of his two runs to lead a pair of countrymen in the top three.

Japan’s Ruka Hirano (no relation to Ayumu) qualified second with 87.75, while Japan’s Yuto Totsuka was a close third (86.75). In fourth was Shaun White, whose 85.75 led the U.S. contingent. The three-time Olympic gold medalist is looking to qualify for his fifth Olympic team.

Germany’s Andre Hoeflich qualified fifth (85), Idaho’s Chase Josey sixth (82.50), Steamboat’s Taylor Gold seventh (81.50), Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer eighth (80.75), Australia’s Valentino Guseli ninth (75.75) and Connecticut’s Joey Okesson 10th (71).

Just missing the cut for finals (top 10) was Swiss rider David Habluetzel (69.25) in 11th. Longtime Tahoe resident and Michigan native Danny Davis, who has partially retired, returned to the halfpipe and qualified 12th with 60.75.

Maddie Mastro scored 92.75 to lead the women’s snowboard halfpipe qualifying, while her Californian teammate Chloe Kim was second with 91.25. It was the first competition of the season for both riders, who are effectively locked into a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Kim is the reigning Olympic gold medalist.

Qualifying third was China’s Xuetong Cai (87) followed in fourth by Spain’s Queralt Castellet (85). Rounding out the eight finals qualifiers are a foursome of Japanese riders in Mitsuki Ono (84), Ruki Tomita (82), Sena Tomita (80) and Haruna Matsumoto (76.25).

In ninth and just missing finals was Japan’s Kurumi Imai, the only other rider among the 16 starters to remotely be within striking distance of making the cut. California’s Summer Fenton was next up, finishing 10th with 53.25.

Chloe Kim competes in the women’s halfpipe snowboarding Dew Tour qualifier on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at Copper Mountain. Kim qualified second behind Maddie Mastro.
Photo courtesy of Dew Tour

Also Thursday was qualifying for men’s slopestyle skiing. Utah’s Colby Stevenson led that group with 89.25 to make the 10-man final. Fellow American’s Nick Goepper (85.25, fourth), Alex Hall (82.50, seventh) and Mac Forehand (80.25, ninth) also advanced.

Sweden’s Oliwer Magnusson was second (88.25) and Switzerland’s Fabian Boesch was third (86.75). The other finalists will be Canada’s Etienne Geoffroy-Gagnon (84.25, fifth), Canada’s Evan McEachran (83.25, sixth), Canada’s Mark Hendrickson (81, eighth) and New Zealand’s Finn Bilous (76.75, 10th).

The women’s ski slopestyle qualifiers were canceled and the finals will be run Friday afternoon with the full field of 16 athletes. The men’s ski slopestyle finals begin at 10:15 a.m. Friday.

Rescheduled for Friday are the women’s halfpipe skiing finals, featuring Basalt’s Hanna Faulhaber, beginning at 9:05 a.m., while the men’s ski halfpipe finals remain slated for Saturday afternoon.

The men’s and women’s snowboard slopestyle finals are scheduled for Saturday morning, with the men’s and women’s snowboard halfpipe finals slated for Sunday morning.