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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Nine U.S. Freeskiers Qualify For Grand Prix Finals

By Andrew Gauthier
December, 11 2019
taylor seaton
Taylor Seaton during the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix freeski halfpipe qualifiers. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Sarah Brunson)

Three women and six men of the U.S. Freeski Team qualified through to finals today on the first day of competition at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo. 

For the men, two local Colorado natives topped their heats with Taylor Seaton leading the way in heat one and Birk Irving in heat two. Seaton was in the hot seat kicking off the competition as the first athlete to drop. 

“I knew that I was kicking the contest off, so didn’t put too much pressure on myself with the first guy dropping usually getting scored a little bit low to set the range,” said Taylor. “I tried to use my first run as a practice run, which went really well. I put some more pressure on my second run and planned on using seven hits (vs five or six being the most common for the rest of the field). I wanted to forget the doubles until finals and show the variety I can bring to the table. The highlight of my day would be landing my newest trick which is the left 900 seatbelt.”

Birk took a similar approach trying to utilize one of his runs for practice. 

“I’m feeling really good,” said Birk. “I was a bit nervous coming into the first northern hemisphere competition of the season. I wanted to use my second run as training for finals and I ended up landing my double 1440, which I haven’t been able to land all week so I’m pretty psyched.” 

Birk also hinted at the possibility of trying the double-cork-720 in finals, which he broke out at the New Zealand Winter Games World Cup earlier this year. This was the first time this trick has been landed in a World Cup competition. 

For the women, Brita Sigourney led the way for the U.S. stomping both of her runs in her first competition back from a tibia and fibula spiral fracture at Mammoth Mountain training camp in California this May. After not even knowing she was going to be able to compete, Brita put a high-level of skiing on display qualifying third overall. 

“I’m really happy,” said Brita. “I honestly didn’t even expect to be able to compete at this event. I have been struggling with my comeback a little bit and my legs have been pretty sore. I have been doing my best to manage it by taking strategic days off. I came in with no expectations and I’m really happy to put down two runs and be feeling like my old self again.”

For the men, Aspen local and last year’s X Games gold medalist Alex Ferreira qualified fourth, double-Olympic gold medalist David Wise qualified fifth, Jaxin Hoerter qualified seventh, and last year’s Copper Grand Prix winner Aaron Blunck qualified eighth overall. For the women, Devin Logan and Carly Margulies qualified into finals in sixth and eighth respectively. 

More action goes down at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Thursday with snowboard halfpipe qualifications. With America and Canada owning the qualifying rounds, the North American Freeski Finals battle made up six U.S. athletes and four Canadians will take place on Friday, Dec. 13th. Come enjoy all the action live at Copper Mountain or tune in on NBC to catch all the action. 

QUOTES

Alex Ferreira - “I assume it will take three or four doubles to win this year’s grand prix along with  a lot of style, great grabs, and huge amplitude. During the off-season, I trained 5 days a week. I would go to the gym for an hour and a half, then jump on the trampoline for a half-hour, then ill go to the steam room and visualize my run over and over again. After that, I usually go to a sports psychologist and or a physical therapist. It's a full-time job and I’m glad I put in all the training, because it pays off on days like this.”

David Wise - “Honestly the best part about having an injury is how much you appreciate skiing again once your back. It certainly has been a fight for me to get back. I have been working incredibly hard all summer long to be able to compete here today. It feels great to be in the halfpipe again and landing runs. I’m stoked I get to go ski again in the finals. Also, its fun for me as a veteran to be able to witness the young guys coming up and to be able to know the future of freesking is in good hands. These guys and girls are adding their own flavor to the halfpipe, doing things that only they can do, only they want to do, and making skiing interesting again. Its fun to be out here witnessing that and also being part of it at the same time.”

Devin Logan - “I was feeling good, the first competition jitters always come into play here at Copper, but to put down two solid runs in qualifiers is always a nice feeling. It helps build yourself up and get ready for the rest of the season. Really happy to have had some successful camps with the U.S. Freeski Team prior to arriving here at Copper and to make it to finals. It’s awesome to see the young guns coming out and landing their runs and get that competition juice flowing. It’s fun to have their energy to push the veterans and for the veterans to be able to support the younger athletes. It’s great comradery and the next generation is coming up strong and I’m really happy to see that.”

RESULTS
Men’s Freeski Halfpipe
Women’s Freeski Halfpipe

START LISTS
Men’s Freeski Halfpipe
Women’s Freeski Halfpipe

LAND ROVER U.S. GRAND PRIX - COPPER MOUNTAIN

Event Schedule

*Subject to change
Dec. 12: Snowboard Halfpipe qualifications
Dec. 13: Freeski Halfpipe Finals
Dec. 14: Snowboard Halfpipe Finals

HOW TO WATCH
Subject to change
All times EST
*Delayed broadcast

FREESKI
December 13, 2019

1:30 p.m. - Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe, Copper Mountain - NBCSN, NBCSN.com, and NBC Sports Gold.

December 21, 2019
4:00 p.m. - Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe, Copper Mountain - NBC*

SNOWBOARD
December 14, 2019

2:30 p.m. - Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe, Copper Mountain - NBCSN, NBCSN.com, and NBC Sports Gold.

December 21, 2019
4:00 p.m. - Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe, Copper Mountain - NBC*

All streams will be available via desktop (NBCSports.com/Gold and OlympicChannel.com) as well as mobile, tablet and connected television platforms. The NBC Sports and Olympic Channel app are available on the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.