Aspiring Olympians in freeskiing will be aiming to lock down their places for the upcoming Sochi Olympics in Russia when they compete in their final two qualifying events this weekend at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City.
Only skiers Maddie Bowman, a Westminster College student now living in Utah, and David Wise have clinched spots on the halfpipe team, while Nick Goepper has clinched a place on the slopestyle team, leaving everything else up for grabs in both disciplines — two new events for the Sochi Games.
U.S. Freesking Grand Prix
At Park City Mountain Resort
9 to 10:30 a.m. » Women’s slopestyle No. 1
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. » Men’s slopestyle No. 1
4:55 to 6 p.m. » Women’s halfpipe No. 1
6:55 to 8:30 p.m. » Men’s halfpipe No. 1
9 to 10:30 a.m. » Women’s slopestyle No. 2
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. » Men’s slopestyle No. 2
4:55 to 6 p.m. » Women’s halfpipe No. 2
6:55 to 8:30 p.m. » Men’s halfpipe No. 2
Athletes will compete in one event Friday and another on Saturday, both starting at 9 a.m. at the Park City Mountain Resort.
Realistically, five skiers are locked in a battle for the last two spots on the men’s halfpipe team, while four are fighting for the last two women’s spots — including Salt Lake City’s Angeli VanLaanen and Park City’s Devin Logan, who’s leading the women’s slopestyle standings but trying to qualify in both disciplines.
On the slopestyle side, Park City’s McRae Williams and Alex Schlopy, as well as Logan and Salt Lake City’s Tom Wallisch and Grete Eliassen, are among those fighting for the last available places — two in men’s, and three in women’s. Both Wallisch and Schlopy are former world champions who need top three finishes both Friday and Saturday to have a chance at an automatic spot on the team.
World silver medalist and reigning X Games champion Torin Yater-Wallace will not compete in the halfpipe while recovering from broken ribs, and must hope to be made a discretionary selection for the Olympic team, while former world champion Jen Hudak of Park City is out with serious knee injuries suffered last month.
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