Chloe Kim reacts after winning the women's snowboard halfpipe final during Day 4 the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix World Cup at Buttermilk Ski Resort on March 21, 2021 in Aspen, Colo.
Only Chloe Kim knows what her expectations were in returning to the halfpipe after 22 months away, but if it was to win everything, then mission accomplished.
Kim’s latest triumph was the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday in Aspen, Colorado, her second win out of two world cup events this season to also give her the season title. The Olympic gold medalist came out strong in her first run, putting down a clean run of 90.50, and that was all she needed. Spain’s Queralt Castellet came the closest with her second-run score of 86.00 to finish second. Sena Tomita of Japan was third with 82.50.
Kim’s world cup success — Aspen being the first Olympic qualifying event is an added bonus — is just part of her remarkable return to competition in 2021. Kim returned to the halfpipe in January, winning the world cup in Laax, Switzerland, then later that month won her fifth X Games gold medal, just one shy of Team USA’s Kelly Clark for most ever by a woman in halfpipe. Then earlier this month, she successfully defended her world championship from 2019. The Los Angeles-area native may want to consider a second home in Aspen; her X Games gold, world championship, and Sunday’s world cup title were all in the skiing capital. Kim now hasn’t lost an FIS competition since Jan. 13, 2018, before her Olympic triumph in PyeongChang.
Over on the men’s side, another U.S. legend began his own return to competition Sunday. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White competed in his first FIS event since PyeongChang and was the top U.S. finisher in fourth.