Olympic Qualifiers Continue at Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix
Sammy Carlson and other top freeskiing athletes from the USA converge at the second of five Olympic qualification events and the opening of the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Series Presented by The North Face, part of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix tour, at Copper Mountain Dec. 20-21. (Sarah Brunson/U.S. Freeskiing)
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO (Dec. 17) – Top freeskiing athletes from the USA converge at the second of five Olympic qualification events and the opening of the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Series Presented by The North Face, part of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix tour, at Copper Mountain Dec. 20-21. The athletes will compete in the FIS World Cup event with a field of international athletes, while also continuing the quest for spots on the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team for halfpipe and slopestyle skiing. The Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix will air on NBC and NBCSN. See below for a complete competition and TV schedule.
Top freeskiing athletes from the USA converge at the second of five Olympic qualification events and the opening of the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Series Presented by The North Face, part of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix tour, Dec. 20-21.
For the sixth-straight year Copper Mountain welcomes the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix presented by The North Face at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix. In its 18th year, the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix is the longest running domestic tour.
U.S. freeskiing athletes will compete with a field of international athletes in the FIS World Cup event while also continuing the quest for spots on the first-ever U.S. Olympic Team for halfpipe and slopestyle skiing. In addition to team qualification criteria, athletes must earn World Cup points to become Olympic eligible.
Selection to the Olympic freeskiing team will be made from athletes who have two top-three finishes against the entire field in the selection events. Those athletes will be ranked with their best two of five qualifying events using World Cup scoring (100 point scale) comparing only USA athletes.
Olympic qualification will be difficult in such a deep, talented field of U.S. freeskiing athletes, as they are not only competing at the highest level, but also progressing the sport at a rapid pace.
Halfpipe athletes David Wise (Reno, NV) and Maddie Bowman (S. Lake Tahoe, CA) will take on the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Halfpipe presented by The North Face on Dec. 19 and 20, defending their top Olympic qualification standings earned with victories last weekend at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships at Breckenridge.
A U.S. men’s Dew Tour podium sweep put Wise, Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, CO), and U.S. Freeskiing rookie Lyman Currier (Boulder, CO) in favorable position to make the Olympic team, and all three are looking for a second podium this weekend in Copper to meet the objective criteria. U.S. favorites Torin Yater-Wallace (Basalt, CO) and Simon Dumont (Bethel, ME) did not compete in the Dew Tour final due to crashes in their practice runs.
Bowman, Angeli Van Laanen (Bellingham, WA), and Brita Sigourney (Carmel, CA) also scored a U.S. podium sweep at Dew Tour and are moving into Copper with confidence, each having one top-three finish under their belt.
Close behind are Devin Logan (West Dover, VT) and Annalisa Drew (Andover, MA), who are hungry to get podium spots in halfpipe.
Logan and Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, CO) are the only U.S. Freeskiing athletes vying for spots on both the halfpipe and slopestyle teams.
The rest of the field has four more competitions to earn their two top-three finishes. This will become increasingly more difficult as the events take place, as they’ll have fewer chances to get podium spots.
Slopestyle athletes Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, IN) and Devin Logan will defend their top qualification standings at the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Slopestyle presented by The North Face on Dec. 21.
Goepper was the only American male to get a top-three result at Dew Tour, so he can nearly assure himself a spot on the team with another win. The other men will need a podium result at Copper and then have to wait until the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Northstar for their next opportunity to make top three.
Logan and 15-year-old rookie Maggie Voisin (Whitefish, MT) are on their way to meeting the objective criteria for women's slopestyle after placing first and third against the entire Dew field this weekend. They will each only need one more podium to meet the requirements.
Top U.S. favorites Keri Herman (Bloomington, MN) and Grete Eliassen (Salt Lake City, UT) and the rest of the women have a bit of work to do to meet the criteria. Herman missed the podium by one spot at Dew Tour and Eliassen opted out of her second Dew Tour qualification run due to a crash. Ashley Battersby (Park City, UT) crashed during the final and was taken off the mountain for medical evaluation.