Freeskiers Claim Olympic Spots at Mammoth Mountain
With the finale of the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix this weekend at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., the first freeskiing members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team were announced. Three men and three women were recognized as Olympic selections in halfpipe skiing at the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Nomination Ceremony presented by Visa in front of a packed house at the base of Mammoth's Unbound Terrain Park. All six achieved their team status through objective selection criteria.
The slopestyle skiing team will be announced Sunday at Mammoth Mountain. The entire freeski team, including any additional selections based on team quotas, will be announced this coming week.
The team will be headlined by 2014 Olympic gold medalists David Wise (Reno, Nev.) and Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif.). Five of the six were on the 2014 team. The only newcomer is Alex Ferreira (Aspen, Colo.).
The final selection events in slopestyle are set for Sunday at Mammoth Mountain including one event for women and two for men.
NBCUniversal will present more than 2,400 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app - the most ever for a Winter Olympics.
All members of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team will be confirmed by the United States Olympic Committee when it formally names Team USA this Friday (January 26).
2018 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM (FREESKI)
Alex Ferreira, Aspen, Colo. (08/14/1994)
David Wise, Reno, Nev. (06/30/1990) *
Torin Yater-Wallace, Basalt, Colo. (12/02/1995) *
Maddie Bowman, S. Lake Tahoe, Calif. (01/10/1994) *
Devin Logan, W. Dover, Vt. (02/17/1993) *
Brita Sigourney, Carmel, Calif. (01/17/1990) *
* Competed in past Olympics
ATHLETE PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
I think Sochi was a pretty unpredictable Olympics, especially being my first Olympics ever, but also when we got there things were not exactly as they were promised. I guess it prepared me to not have expectations and to go in just trying to have a good time and enjoy the experience.
The courses here at Mammoth have always been spectacular, being the last Olympic qualifier, you always want to give it your all and show your best runs. I feel the pipe was on point, especially under the lights, we don’t get to do that often. It was a really cool experience to come down to the corral with a crowd under the lights. As for slopestyle, Mammoth is known for their insane jumps and creative rail lines. This course with the shark fin feature, the first jump I would say, it really let us be creative in the slopestyle course. It was great and prepared us leading into the curved jumps we will see in Korea next month that we also saw a Snowmass.
Mammoth did a great job getting the event together and organized. It was a tough year with snow for all of the west, so they did a great job. The pipe was pretty icey, that will happen at night, but it was still amazing to be skiing under the lights and it got the people fired up. Thank you Mammoth!
It’s super cool to come to Mammoth and ski under the lights. It creates a really special atmosphere. Being from Tahoe and coming down here to ski halfpipe growing up, I never thought I would be skiing under the lights at Mammoth at the last Olympic Qualifier, so It was pretty special and brought me back to growing up in California.
Doing what we do there is obviously going to be a lot of ups and downs. At a young age, I happen to go through a lot, especially with the last Olympics and breaking my ankle, then my first event back from the Olympics I tore my ACL, I mean I was 15 and 16 when I went through those injuries. However, I don’t think I would change anything, they really shaped me as an athlete and a person, I was able to build off those injuries. It’s crazy to sit here today going to my second Olympics. I’m feeling a little bit of redemption and fire from the last games. There’s a lot of ups and downs, but for me I have always believed you need to take the positive out of every situation. Through my ankle and knee injury I learned how to take care of my body mentally and physically, I’m not going to say it was all easy, there was definitely tough times, but it’s made me who I am today. I have had the support of my fellow athletes, family, friends, and the whole U.S. Team and wouldn’t be here today without it.
I have been saying this since the beginning of the year, It started out as a prediction and has come true. This is the strongest team we have ever put together for any sport, any discipline, the U.S. Halfpipe guys will be one of the strongest teams ever. The hardest part of our job this year is done now. We’ve made the team, it certainly wasn’t easy and took a lot of dedication, but we’re here and now we do get to enjoy the ride to Korea.
Everyone here can speak to how hard and stressful this process can be, even in the years leading up. My hat just goes off to all the athletes up here. The pressure we go through, the selection process, and there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that everyone has done an amazing job dealing with.
I went to a lot of training camps, went to the gym a lot, took care of my body both mentally and physically. Took some time off, but also enjoyed the ride. I am just happy to be here.
I think we as action sports athletes have a bad wrap for being lazy humans, we are just out there for the ride having a good time, but the reality is it takes an insane amount of dedication. At least for myself, I honestly spend more time doing my job in the summer then I do in the winter whether in the gym, riding my mountain bike, trying to get as fit as I possibly can. I was either blessed or cursed with a larger frame then most of the guys up here, so I outweigh them by out 30 pounds or so and that’s not by choice, but rather the body God gave me so I have to spend a little extra time staying in shape so I can take those deep landings when I have a bad take off. That’s my journey, but I bet every athlete up here has a different version of that. Some people are super into Yoga, some are into meditation, it’s different for all of us, each person has their own way of making this work and it's incredibly fascinating to look at it from that side.
I tend to be hurt a lot haha, so I try to stay as healthy as I can, but probably spend a quarter of the amount of time in the gym as Dave does, for me it’s all about skiing as much as I can and with that comes getting hurt sometimes. This year has been stressful, I felt a lot of pressure with the lack of snow and a lot of the halfpipes we are dealing with were just being finished the day before, so its been quite the ride. To be here and get it done has been an amazing ride. I’m happy to be feeling good and healthy and go into this next Olympics without having my lungs collapse. I was trying to do my best out there, we have had a different qualifying process this year where we are competing against the whole field and not just each other, so every event you basically had to podium, that added another level of pressure as opposed to the last time just trying to rank yourself against the Americans. I won last year’s Mammoth Grand Prix which was great, but it added a lot of pressure. It took me a lot of tries, but finally at this last one, I was able to put it down on my last run. I was dealing with a pretty verty wall, as David said they did an amazing job putting it together, but with a little bit of new snow, the cut gave the right wall a lot of vert and you are kind of struggling trying to adapt to the pipe. I fell the first two runs because of that and on my last, I took a slightly safer run, but it was good enough to get me on the podium and that’s what I needed. I’m really grateful
it is really stressful, I really try not to think about that aspect of it. Last night I definitely had an inner battle, I had a really bad warm up, I wasn’t really landing any of my tricks that I never struggle with and it kind of got to my head. I had a moment with my coaches and myself and thought I know how to do these things, I can do it in my sleep, and there’s no reason why I can’t do it when it matters. I had to put those negative thoughts behind me and just put my game face on for the contest. So much about skiing is the mental aspect, if you are able to overcome those hurdles, you can do anything you can set your mind to. For those looking to get into freesking, I would say follow their heart and if she’s having fun to keep doing it, never put pressure on yourself ever, and to do what feels good.