Olympic Milestones Approaching For U.S. Snowboarders And Freestyle Skiers

by Todd Kortemeier

David Wise competes in the men's freeski halfpipe final during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix on Dec. 10, 2021 in Copper Mountain, Colo.


With under 50 days to go until the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, it’s getting to be crunch time for Team USA’s snowboarders and freestyle skiers as ranking lists come into view and tryout events are dwindling. 

All eyes Dec. 16-18 were on the Dew Tour, one of the winter’s biggest events for skiers and snowboarders, and also the penultimate Olympic qualifying event for halfpipe and slopestyle skiers and snowboarders. Many of the world’s top athletes were on hand in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

With Olympic berths coming into view, some U.S. athletes now have the inside track on qualification based on their standing in the FIS points lists as of Dec. 22. Others will look to score podium finishes at remaining tryout events, such as January’s U.S. Grand Prix, the final tryout event for halfpipe and slopestyle athletes. Nothing is guaranteed as the competition heats up, as David Wise, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in men’s halfpipe skiing, remarked at the Dew Tour.

“This is going to be the hardest team to make,” Wise said to the Denver Gazette. “It's never been easy. I've got my work cut out for me.”

With Beijing approaching, here’s a look at where things stand for U.S. snowboarders and freestyle skiers.

Megan Nick takes a training run for the women's aerials during the 2021 Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International Ski World Cup on Feb. 3, 2021 in Park City, Utah.


Based on FIS points as of Dec. 22, 2021, four U.S. athletes are in position to qualify in aerials. Up to two athletes per gender may qualify per country as long as they’re in the top six overall.

Those criteria apply to Megan Nick, Winter Vinecki, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld. In moguls, U.S. women Jaelin Kauf and Hannah Soar are in qualifying position. No U.S. men are in the top six. No U.S. athletes rank in the top six in skicross.

In halfpipe, Alex Ferreira’s big win at the Dew Tour has him first overall in the rankings with Birk Irving also among the top six. Ferreira is the 2018 Olympic silver medalist in the event. Brita Sigourney, the 2018 bronze medalist, sits just outside the top six on the women’s side. Colby Stevenson and Mac Forehand rank in the top six in men’s slopestyle, with Caroline Claire ranking No. 7 in the women’s rankings. Big air and slopestyle are considered one event for Olympic qualification.

If athletes don’t qualify via rankings, they can earn a spot with a top-three finish at one of the tryout events. The U.S. Grand Prix set for Jan. 6-8 at Mammoth Mountain, California, is the final tryout event for halfpipe and slopestyle. Aerials, moguls and skicross all have at least one more tryout event via the world cup calendar. 

Athletes can also qualify via a discretionary selection from U.S. Ski & Snowboard based upon a number of criteria such as recent results and medal-winning ability.

Team USA may send up to 30 freestyle skiers to Beijing. If the U.S. qualifies three aerials athletes and qualifies for the mixed team event, then it may send 32 skiers. The qualification period concludes Jan. 16, 2022, with the U.S. team to be announced on or before Jan. 21.

Maddie Mastro looks on after finishing second place in the women's snowboard halfpipe final during the Aspen 2021 FIS Snowboard and Freeski World Championship on March 13, 2021 in Aspen, Colo.


Similar qualification procedures exist for U.S. snowboarders. The Dew Tour was the place to make a move, as Chloe Kim, the defending Olympic halfpipe champion, scored a win in her signature event to cement her spot as the top U.S. woman. Olympian Maddie Mastro also ranks in the top six, while no men’s riders are currently in position in halfpipe. Many eyes will be on Shaun White, the three-time Olympic champ who will need a strong finish in the U.S. Grand Prix.

In slopestyle, defending Olympic gold medalist Red Gerard nabbed a win at the Dew Tour as he and rising star Dusty Henricksen are in position to qualify with Chris Corning in the hunt. Jamie Anderson, the two-time defending Olympic women’s champ, ranks first overall on the women’s side. As in skiing, slopestyle and big air are calculated together.

No U.S. riders rank in the top six in parallel giant slalom. In snowboardcross, three-time Olympian Faye Gulini ranks sixth with Lindsey Jacobellis, the five-time world champion, right behind her. 

Halfpipe and slopestyle riders will look to the U.S. Grand Prix as the last tryout event, while parallel giant slalom and snowboardcross have remaining world cup events on the calendar. 

As in skiing, athletes may also qualify with a top-three finish at a tryout event or via discretionary selection. Team USA may send up to 26 snowboarders to Beijing. The qualifying period ends Jan. 16. 2022, with the U.S. team to be announced on or before Jan. 21.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Team USA logo

Follow Us


United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee
  • Accessibility
  • Finance , opens in a new tab
  • Governance , opens in a new tab
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Site Map

© 2023 United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. All Rights Reserved.