Three US Olympic qualifiers announced for freeskiing and snowboarding ahead of 22 Games

Aspen’s Alex Ferreira competes in the men’s freeski halfpipe final at the United States Grand Prix and World Cup on Sunday March 21, 2021 at Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen. It was the first of the Olympic qualifiers before the 2022 Winter Games.
Photo by Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

US Ski & Snowboard on Monday announced three stops for the Olympic freeskiing and snowboarding qualifiers ahead of the February Winter Games in Beijing.

Steamboat Springs will kick off the season with the Visa Big Air at the Steamboat Resort from December 2-4. This will include big air snowboard qualifying on December 2nd, big air freeskiing qualifying on December 3rd and finals for both events on December 4th. It will be the first and only big air qualifying event before the Olympics; big air snowboarding is only making its second appearance at the Games, while big air freeskiing will be new at this year’s Olympics.

“Steamboat’s Olympic legacy runs deep and we are delighted to honor our long-standing partnership with US Ski & Snowboard by hosting the Visa Big Air event presented by Toyota leading up to the 2022 Olympics,” said Rob Perlman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Steamboat Ski Resort. , in a press release. “Producing Olympians is part of who we are, so it was only natural for Steamboat to launch the qualifying events calendar ahead of the Winter Games. “

The United States Grand Prix at Copper Mountain returns December 8-11 with the first halfpipe competitions. The freeski halfpipe qualifiers are on December 8 and the finals are on December 10. The snowboard halfpipe qualifiers are December 9 and the finals are December 11. was not announced as an Olympic qualifier, as it was before the 2018 Games.

Finally, the United States Grand Prix will return to Mammoth Mountain in California from January 6-8, with both Olympic qualifiers in halfpipe and slopestyle. Mammoth was scheduled to host the first Olympic qualifying events last season, but those competitions have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was then that Aspen stepped in to host the first Olympic slopestyle and halfpipe qualifiers last March at the Buttermilk ski area, just after hosting the world championships.

“The Toyota US Grand Prix has been the beacon of Olympic qualifying fervor for more than two decades, and we are delighted to bring this series back to the incredible terrain of Copper and Mammoth,” said Jeremy Forster, director of the US Ski & Snowboard Freeski and Snowboard. Press release. “These two resorts combined with Olympic history and premier facilities at Steamboat Ski Resort for the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota will constitute an exceptional Olympic qualifying process. We look forward to announcing the athletes who will represent Team USA in Beijing this winter.

All events depend on local and state health guidelines surrounding the pandemic. No information has yet been announced on whether or not fans will be able to attend in person.

Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte competes in the men’s freeski halfpipe final of the United States Grand Prix on Sunday March 21, 2021 at the Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen.
Photo by Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to begin on February 4. According to the US ski and snowboard press release, “other Olympic selection events will be announced before the start of the 2021-2022 season”.

The Snowmass ski area had been a stopping place for the Grand Prix and Olympic qualifiers ahead of the 2018 Winter Games. Buttermilk is still set to host ESPN’s annual X Games January 21-23; The X Games are not an Olympic qualification.

Among Aspen’s top Olympic prospects is 2018 Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira. The halfpipe skier finished sixth in Aspen’s first qualifying event last spring, where he was fourth among the Americans. Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte won the event, while David Wise of Nevada – the reigning two-time Olympic gold medalist – was fourth and Birk Irving of Winter Park was fifth.

The world championships last spring in Aspen were not directly part of the United States’ Olympic qualifying process.

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