Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Kicks Off at Copper Mountain
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (Dec. 5, 2017) – The ride to PyeongChang for the U.S. Freeski and Snowboard Teams continues this week with the first Toyota U.S. Grand Prix of the 2017-18 season at Copper Mountain Resort. U.S. athletes who land podium spots in halfpipe skiing, halfpipe snowboarding and big air snowboarding competitions will be one step closer to making their respective Olympic teams.
Skiers will take to Copper’s Main Vein halfpipe on Friday, Dec. 8 for their second of five Olympic qualifying events. The U.S. Freeski Team expects to have more than 25 athletes competing in Copper along with a strong international field. Olympic Champion Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif.), Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, Colo.), Torin Yater-Wallace (Basalt, Colo.) and Taylor Seaton (Avon, Colo.) all landed podium spots at the first qualifying event last season in Mammoth Mountain, California. They will be back for more in Copper along with U.S. stars David Wise (Reno, Nev.), Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.) and Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.).
“I’m excited to start off a crazy year of competition at Copper Mountain,” said Yater-Wallace. “They’ve done a great job preparing the halfpipe given that there’s been almost no snow in November, so I’m feeling fortunate to have an opportunity to ski and compete with my friends. It's going to take some great skiing to do well with the international field that's headed to Copper, especially with it being a World Cup and a U.S. Olympic qualification event."
Copper will be the first of four qualifying events for U.S. Snowboard Team halfpipe riders. After being too young to attempt to qualify in 2014, 17-year-old Chloe Kim (La Palma, Calif.) is in the hunt for a top result to begin the journey to her first Olympic Winter Games, while three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark (West Dover, Vt.) is looking to make her fifth Olympic team. On the men’s side, two-time Olympic champion Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.) is expected to compete against a stacked field that includes fellow U.S. athletes Chase Josey (Sun Valley, Idaho) and Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) as well as Australia’s Scotty James and Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov. Finals will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The weekend wraps up with big air snowboarding finals on Sunday, Dec. 10. After a successful inaugural competition last season, Copper is once again pulling out all the stops for a world-class big air venue right in the resort village. Sunday’s event is the second of five Olympic qualifying competitions for U.S. slopestyle/big air riders. Jamie Anderson (S. Lake Tahoe, Calif.), Hailey Langland (San Clemente, Calif.), Julia Marino (Westport, Conn.), Red Gerard (Silverthorne, Colo.) and Kyle Mack (West Bloomfield, Mich.) will be looking to add more top finishes after claiming podium spots at the first qualifying event in Mammoth last season. Ryan Stassel (Anchorage, Alaska) and Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.) are also in the hunt.
“The more big air events I enter the more stoked I am to do them,” said Gerard. “Coming off a podium sweep in Milan with Kyle [Mack] and Chris [Corning], I’m pretty fired up to go to Copper for the only big air Olympic qualifier of the season. I think the format, in which you have to qualify in slopestyle as well as big air, is super key as it makes the overall best riders get the results they need to go to Korea. I got to ride a ton this fall and I’m stoked now to get into the real winter, to ride, compete and film.”
NBC Sports Group will feature comprehensive coverage of the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain with shows airing on NBC, NBC Sports Network, The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, and streaming on nbcsports.com. For additional event information, visit usskiandsnowboard.org/grandprix.
TOYOTA U.S. GRAND PRIX - COPPER MOUNTAIN
*subject to change
Dec. 6: Halfpipe skiing qualifications
Dec. 7: Halfpipe snowboarding qualifications
Dec. 8: Halfpipe skiing finals + big air snowboarding qualifications
Dec. 9: Halfpipe snowboarding finals
Dec. 10: Big air snowboarding finals
Broadcast and Streaming Schedule (times EST)
*subject to change
1 p.m. – Halfpipe skiing finals – nbcsports.com
1 p.m. – Halfpipe snowboarding finals – nbcsports.com
4 p.m. – Halfpipe snowboarding finals – NBC
1 p.m. – Big air snowboarding finals – nbcsports.com
1 p.m. – Halfpipe skiing finals – NBC
8 p.m. – Big air snowboarding finals – NBCSN