2018-19 U.S. Snowboard Team Season Highlights
The U.S. Snowboard Team had nothing short of an extraordinary 2018-19 competition season. Earning seven podiums at the 2019 FIS Snowboard World Championships, five podiums across two Junior World Championships, 20 podiums at a variety of World Cup events, and 12 podiums at elite level events including the US Open, Dew Tour, and X Games, the United States proved themselves once again to be a force to be reckoned with at the highest level of competitive snowboarding.
Once dubbed the future of women’s snowboarding, the current Olympic and World Champion Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.) is clearly the “now” of women’s snowboarding. Kim had herself a record season topping the podium at five out of six events she entered, winning at a rate of 83%. Kim is not just winning at elite level events against the best riders in the world, but she is doing so consistently, winning every major competition she entered from the 2018 X games to the 2019 FIS World Championships, completing over a full year of victories. At only 18 years old, the sky is the limit for this snowboarding champion. The 18-year-old all-star still has yet to land her frontside double cork 1080 in competition, which will take her to a level of riding to a level which is unheard of in the sport of women’s snowboarding. Kim has proven to be one of the best female athletes in the world, a fact summed up as she came into the season as the 2018 Best Female Athlete ESPY award winner.
Maddie Mastro (Wrightwood, Calif.) is another U.S. rider who made huge strides this season. Mastro finished third in the World Championships halfpipe competition, earning her first World Championship medal of her career and she made history at the Burton U.S. Open by landing the first ever double cork in halfpipe competition with a double crippler. This trick led her to her victory at the U.S. Open, with Chloe Kim in second place. “I can’t even express how happy I am,” Mastro remarked directly after that win. “This is the first contest I have won and for it to be at the U.S. Open is an incredible feeling!”
The men of the U.S. Snowboard Team have also proven themselves this season. Olympic Gold Medalist Red Gerard took the gold at the 2019 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, as well as at the 2019 Burton U.S. Open Slopestyle finals. Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.) also earned his fifth and sixth FIS Crystal Globes in March by winning the snowboard slopestyle and overall titles. In addition, he also landed the first quad cork 1800 in World Cup competition to kick off the season at the Cardrona, New Zealand World Cup big air. Corning’s teammates, Judd Henkes (La Jolla, Calif.), Lyon Farrell (Haiku, HI), and Ryan Stassel (Anchorage, AK), finished in second, third, and fourth respectively in the FIS World Cup slopestyle rankings. Henkes also earned his first World Cup podium to close out the season when he finished in second-place at the Mammoth Grand Prix slopestyle event. To top it all off, Toby Miller (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) earned his first World Cup podium by placing second at the Copper Mountain Grand Prix, proving there’s plenty of runway for the U.S. Snowboard Team as young riders start to break out.
Moving onto snowboardcross, the success of U.S. athletes this season proved the strength and balance of the skilled American Team as both veterans and rookies exceled. 20-year-old B Team athlete Jake Vedder (Pickney, Mich.) claimed second-place and his first World Cup podium in Cervinia, Italy. Pro Team rider Mick Dierdorff (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) won the individual snowboardcross title at the FIS World Championships at Solitude Mountain Resort, becoming World Champion and also grabbing his first top-level international competition victory. He soon became a two-time World Champion when he and Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) won the inaugural mixed team snowboardcross event, which ultimately led them to earning the “Best of February” title from Team USA. This was Jacobellis’ sixth World-Championship title, but if becoming a six-time World Champion wasn’t enough, Jacobellis also achieved and surpassed the milestone of 30 World Cup victories, securing her position as the most dominant female snowboardcross athlete in the history of the sport.
The 2018-19 season offered two different FIS Junior World Championship events: the 2018 Snowboard and Freestyle Junior World Championships in Cardona, New Zealand, and the 2019 Snowboard and Freestyle Junior World Championships, which took place across five European venues. Combined, U.S. Snowboard athletes earned five medals with Jake Vedder (Pickney, Mich.) and Toby Miller claiming the titles of 2018 Junior World Champion in their respective disciplines of snowboardcross and halfpipe. As previously mentioned, Miller and Vedder went on to earn their first World Cup podiums after succeeding on the proving grounds that is the Junior World Championships. Their performances contributed to the U.S. Junior World Championship Team taking home the 2018 Marc Hodler Trophy, awarded to the best overall nation.
Overall, the U.S. Snowboard team had a total of 45 podiums this season, with 19 of those podiums being first place, among the big air, slopestyle, halfpipe, and snowboardcross disciplines. U.S. riders met and exceeded expectations this season, and had fun while doing it. The U.S. Snowboard Team will only continue to improve as they prepare for the 2022 Olympics In Beijing, China.