After Aspen 2021 FIS Snowboard and Freeski World Championships, Buttermilk Mountain is right back to action from Thursday through to Sunday with FIS Snowboard World Cup slopestyle and halfpipe action at the Land Rover US Grand Prix.
Competition at this week’s World Cups will be going down on the same Buttermilk slopestyle and halfpipe venues that have hosted the past seven days at the World Championships, and while most of the same faces from world champs are sticking around for this week’s competitions, they’ll be joined by a fresh crop of riders who are able to take advantage of the longer World Cup start lists and who are hungry to make an impact with just two weekends of competition left in the 2020/21 season.
Halfpipe qualifications will open things up on Thursday, with the women kicking things off at 9:55 local time, followed by men at 12:00. Finals will take place on Saturday, starting at 13:00, featuring the top eight women and 10 men.
Friday’s competition will be the second and final halfpipe World Cup of 2020/21, and while there’s no crystal globe up for grabs in this pandemic-shortened season, there’s still the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games to qualify for, making this week’s contest as important as they come.
Though Scotty James (AUS) is out for this week’s World Cup, last week’s band new World Champion Yuto Totsuka (JPN) is most certainly in, along with bronze medallist Jan Scherrer, and other Aspen 2021 standouts like Chase Blackwell (USA), Andre Hoefflich (GER), and Valentino Guseli (AUS).
And, if that isn’t enough, a certain Shaun White (USA) is set to drop in on his first competition since the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
This return to competition has been teased already this season – once after White suggested on social media that he was set to make the trip to Switzerland for the Laax Open in January only to pull out of that at the last minute, and then again after he entered and then withdrew from the X Games after tweaking his knee. However, White is on hand here in Aspen and by all appearances ready to begin his bid for his fifth Olympic start.
Gold medallist Chloe Kim (USA) is indeed slated to compete here in Aspen again at the World Cup, along with the silver and bronze medallists Maddie Mastro (USA) and Queralt Castellet (ESP). Aside from those Aspen 2021 podium riders, watch out for the strong Japanese team featuring the likes of Sena Tomita and Mitsuki Ono, Canadians Brooke D’Hondt and Elizabeth Hosking, and…Jamie Anderson (USA)?
That’s right, arguably the greatest slopestyle and big air competition rider of all time is on the start list for the World Cup halfpipe event this weekend. Somehow, the Land Rover US Grand Prix gets more interesting by the hour.
Slopestyle, meanwhile, will see qualifications take place on Friday, where the women are scheduled to start things off at 9:40, followed by men’s qualifications at 13:00, and once again the top eight women and 10 men will get through to Sunday’s final, which will also begin at 13:00.
Start lists are yet to be finalized for the slopestyle qualifications, but count on the majority of the Aspen 2021 World Championships field to be back in the mix and looking for more over the next few days at Buttermilk.
Though women’s world champ Zoi Sadwoski-Synnott (NZL) will be heading to Alaska for the final stage of the Natural Selection tour and will not be part of the Grand Prix equation, expect the aforementioned Anderson, Tess Coady (AUS), Laurie Blouin (CAN), Anna Gasser (AUT), Miyabi Onituska (JPN), Kokomo Murase (JPN), Julia Marino (USA), Enni Rukijarvi (FIN) and a handful of others to be in the mix on the women’s side.
For the men’s slopestyle competition, it’s once again shaping up to be the kind of overwhelmingly heavy field we see when things get down to brass tacks in an Olympic qualification year, as just about everybody who was on hand for the World Championships and then some will be dropping back in on the Buttermilk course for World Cup competitions this week.
Canada will be rolling in hot with Aspen 2021 gold and silver medallists Mark McMorris and Max Parrot (respectively), not to mention Sebastien Toutant, while Norway’s Marcus Kleveland and Staale Sandbech, Sven Thorgren and Niklas Mattsson of Sweden, Ruki Tobita and Takeru Otsuka of Japan, a heavy US team featuring Red Gerard, Dusty Henrickson, Chris Corning and Judd Henkes, Italians Emiliano Lauzi and Emil Zulian…the list goes on and on in the men’s field.
It’s all outstandingly competitive and unpredictable and should make for must-watch viewing come finals time. However, you’re going to have to check back on this story in the coming days or stay tuned to our social media channels as we await the full slate of international TV broadcast
Source: FIS Snowboard
Credit: US Snowboard Team