Olympic Qualifiers Continue at Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, CO

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 17, 2013 12:42 pm

Top snowboarding athletes from the USA continue their push for spots on the Olympic team at the second of five Olympic qualification events, the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix Halfpipe Series and the Paul Mitchell Snowboard Slopestyle series at the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Dec. 21-22. The athletes will compete in the FIS World Cup event with a field of international athletes while also continuing the hunt for spots on the U.S. Olympic halfpipe snowboarding team and the first-ever Olympic slopestyle snowboarding team.

HP World Cup Copper Mountain Qualifiers

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Greg Bretz 

For the sixth-straight year Copper Mountain welcomes the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, and in its 18th year, the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix is the longest running domestic tour.

The event doubles as a FIS World Cup event and the athletes will compete with a field of international athletes while also continuing the hunt for spots on the U.S. Olympic halfpipe snowboarding team and the first-ever Olympic slopestyle snowboarding team. In addition to team qualification criteria, athletes must earn World Cup points to become Olympic eligible.

The depth of talent and level of competition for the qualification series was evident last weekend at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships at Breckenridge, the first Olympic qualifier, where rookies like Ben Ferguson (Bend, OR) and Taylor Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO) went head-to-head with veteran athletes like Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) and Louie Vito (Sandy, UT).

HP World Cup Copper Mountain Qualifiers

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Scotty Lago 

HP World Cup Copper Mountain Qualifiers

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Louie Vito

HP World Cup Copper Mountain Qualifiers

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Taylor Gold

Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA), Taylor Gold and Louie Vito secured top-four results with their U.S. sweep at Dew Tour and will be gunning for more qualification points in the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix Halfpipe Dec. 21.

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Greg Bretz 

Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT) and Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO) have both secured a top-four finish and are leading the American women going into this weekend’s second qualification event.

Halfpipe World Cup Copper Mountain

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Arielle Gold 

HP World Cup Copper Mountain Qualifiers

 

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Kelly Clark 

Chas Guldemond (Reno, NV) and Sage Kotsenburg (Park City, UT) lead the U.S. men in Olympic qualifier points after topping the U.S. competition, finishing fifth and sixth at Dew Tour. However, all U.S. slopestyle men still need a top-four result (over the entire field) going into the Paul Mitchell Snowboard Slopestyle at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix.

2013 FIS Snowboard World Championships - Slopestyle - Qualifiers

 

Photo: © Oliver Kraus/FIS / Rider Chas Guldemond

Shaun White qualified first for last week’s Dew Tour slopestyle final, but sat out the competition due to a re-injured ankle. He still needs a top-30 World Cup finish in slopestyle in order to compete at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. This week’s Paul Mitchell Slopestyle at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix is his best chance to earn the points, as the next and last FIS World Cup in Stoneham, Quebec overlaps with the final two stops of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix series. White is the only U.S. athlete competing in both slopestyle and halfpipe.

 

 

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