The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea are right around the corner, and luckily for Coloradans, getting into the Olympic spirit will be easy this winter. Colorado is set to host to three of the four Olympic qualifying events for halfpipe, slopestyle, and big-air disciplines in both skiing and snowboarding.
The events, to be held at Breckenridge Ski Resort, Aspen-Snowmass, and Copper Mountain, come thanks to partnerships between Toyota, Mountain Dew, and U.S. Ski and Snowboard and will serve as preliminary qualifiers before the finals at Mammoth Mountain in California. The official 2018 U.S. Olympic Ski and Snowboard Team will then be selected at the end of January in the week leading up to the Winter X-Games, held annually in Aspen.
Featuring some of the most dominant winter sport athletes in the world, these qualifying events will be the closest you can come to seeing the actual Olympics without traveling across the globe to South Korea. Among the athletes are a slew of Coloradans, whose mountain upbringing allowed them to learn their sport at an early age, and train hard on their local slopes.
Standing out among the Colorado competitors is Telluride-native Gus Kenworthy, a rare double threat in halfpipe and slopestyle skiing, whose dominance in both events is expected to continue into the qualifiers and the 2018 Olympics. Arielle Gold, a halfpipe snowboarder from Steamboat Springs, is also expected to do well. She has emerged as one of the world’s best in recent years with consistent podium finishes in almost every international event she has entered.
The events are set to kick off at Copper Mountain on December 6, 2017 with halfpipe and big air in both skiing and snowboarding continuing every day until December 10, 2017. Breckenridge and the Dew Tour will host events from December 15-16, 2017, with halfpipe and slopestyle events. Finally, Aspen-Snowmass, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will host to more halfpipe and slopestyle events from January 10-14, 2017. For the full schedule and more information, check out usskiandsnowboard.org.
All events are free and open to the public, so show up early to beat the crowds and get a good spot.
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