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U.S. Snowboarding Opens 2022-23 With A World Of Opportunity

By Alex Abrams | Oct. 21, 2022, 12:39 p.m. (ET)

Red Gerard competes during the men's big air final at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 15, 2022 in Beijing.

 

The top American snowboarders are camped out in Switzerland this month for more than three weeks of training. That’s like music to the ears of JJ Thomas, the U.S. snowboard team halfpipe coach.
 
This marks the first major training camp of the season for a U.S. team loaded with talent in the big air, halfpipe and slopestyle competitions. It’s also an opportunity for Thomas and the other coaches to watch the snowboarders show off some of their new tricks.
 
The season, after all, is coming on fast.
 
The snowboard world cup calendar begins with a pair of big air world cups, the first of them this Saturday in Chur, Switzerland, but the dates everyone has circled are Dec. 14-17, when halfpipe and big air riders will compete on home snow at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado.
 
“This is about getting our guys and girls ready to compete this December,” Thomas said from Switzerland. He was the bronze medalist in the men’s halfpipe competition at the Olympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002.
 
“They have a world-class halfpipe here and a really good airbag setup. The airbag setup allows our athletes to learn new tricks more safely. It’s just premier this place, so we go all in and just try to get everyone set up for the short-term goals and long term.”
 
Even though this isn’t an Olympic year, U.S. snowboarders have plenty to prove in the freestyle events this season. The team is rebuilding following the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and Thomas is looking forward to seeing how his up-and-coming athletes do against top international competition.
 
“There’s still always a lot of pressure on the athletes and the organizations to make steps toward improvement and win medals and things like that, so that doesn’t really go away,” Thomas said. “And if anything, it is a bit of a reset in the sense that there’s not such immediate pressure on you for an upcoming season.
 
“But it’s also a rebuilding time. So we have to take it real serious and look at future potential and current, past and what’s worked. So it’s a bit of a rebuilding year, but it’s pretty cool. It’s fun.”
 
Shaun White, a three-time gold medalist in the men’s halfpipe, retired at age 35 following his fifth Winter Olympics in Beijing. Thomas had served as his personal coach.
 
“I think our slopestyle team is really strong, and I think our women’s halfpipe team is really strong,” Thomas said. “But that’s the fun part about sports. It changes all the time, you know.
 
“Ten years ago, eight years ago, you could have asked me that and it would’ve been the opposite. I would have said our men’s halfpipe team is really strong, and men’s slope isn’t. But right now, they swapped, so it’s always a changing and moving target, which is cool."

Maddie Mastro competes during the women's superpipe qualifier at the 2021 Dew Tour on Dec. 16, 2021 in Copper Mountain, Colo.

 

Maddie Mastro, a 22-year-old native of Wrightwood, California, is looking to take the next step in her career after competing in the women’s halfpipe competition at the past two Winter Olympics.
 
Mastro earned the bronze medal at the world championships in 2019, and she finished as the runner-up to Kim at the 2021 worlds. Her best finish at the Winter Olympics was 12th in 2018, when she made her debut as a 17-year-old teenager at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
 
 “She’s going to be hungry, and she’s riding really good right now,” Thomas said.
 
At the same time, Thomas said two teenagers from California — 16-year-old Sonora Alba and 15-year-old Bea Kim — are fun to watch in the women’s halfpipe. Both have shown the potential to be a rising star in the sport.
 
This season could serve as a springboard to propel Alba, Bea Kim and the other young U.S. snowboarders one step closer to qualifying for the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.
 
“They know what’s going on, and they know the competition,” Thomas said. “We’re watching the other nations’ young athletes train with us and can see what’s going on. It’s a train that’s moving, and you have to get on it to keep up with it.”
 
Thomas will get a chance early on to see how the young snowboarders do. 
 
He said the U.S. Grand Prix is “like the opening weekend of the NFL season. You kind of get to see how everyone’s riding and get an idea what the season might look like.”
 
Only a month later, in mid-January, the U.S. snowboard team will face some of the world’s top athletes at the Laax Open in Laax, Switzerland. That also serves as the slopestyle world cup opener.
 
“You’ll probably see the best runs of the year go down there at that event,” Thomas said of the Laax Open.
 
The major event is scheduled to end only a few days before the start of the X Games Aspen 2023, which leads into the second U.S. world cup stop on Feb. 1-4 in Mammoth Mountain, California. From there, the season reaches a crescendo Feb. 19-March 5 when the top snowboarders will be in Bakuriani, Georgia, for the world championships.

 
OFFICIAL TEAM USA 2022/23 SNOWBOARD ROSTER
 
PRO TEAM
MEN SLOPESTYLE & BIG AIR

Chris Corning (Avon, Colorado; Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club; Rocky Mountain Series; 9/7/99)
Brock Crouch (Mammoth Mountain, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 8/22/99)
Sean FitzSimons (Hood River, Oregon; Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation; Central Oregon Series; 9/22/22)
Red Gerard (Silverthorne, Colorado; Rocky Mountain Series; 6/29/00)
Judd Henkes (La Jolla, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 4/3/01)
Dusty Henricksen (Mammoth Lakes, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 2/2/03)
Luke Winkelmannn (Blowing Rock, North Carolina; Connections Academy; Rocky Mountain Series; 12/18/00)
 
WOMEN SLOPESTYLE & BIG AIR
Jamie Anderson (South Lake Tahoe, California; South Lake Tahoe Series; 9/13/90)
Hailey Langland (San Clemente, California; Tahoe Select Snowboard Team; Tahoe Series; 8/2/00)
Julia Marino (Westport, Connecticut; Southern Vermont Series; 9/11/97)
Ty Schnorrbusch (Monroe, New Jersey; Tru Snowboarding; Rocky Mountain Series; 05/15/2002)
 
 
ROOKIE TEAM
Men

Fynn Bullock-Womble (Mebane, North Carolina; One Team LLC; Rocky Mountain Series; 2/3/05)
Jake Canter (Evergreen, Colorado; Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club; Aspen Snowmass Series; 7/9/03)
Liam Johnson (Savage, Minnesota; G Team; Upper Midwest Snow Series; 11/26/04)
Lucas Ferry (Pennington, New Jersey; American Snowboard Training Center; Southern Vermont Series; 6/16/04)
Women
Kaitlyn Adams (Summit County, Colorado; Worldwide Snowboarding; Rocky Mountain Series; 09/16/2005)
Courtney Rummel (West Bend, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Advanced Ski & Snowboard Program; Midwest Best Series; 11/12/02)
Jade Thurgood (Salt Lake City, Utah; Park City Ski & Snowboard; Big Mountain West Series; 1/27/02)
Rebecca Flynn (Victoria, Minnesota; G Team; Upper Midwest Snow Series; 7/24/2006)
 
HALFPIPE
PRO TEAM

Men
Taylor Gold (Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; Rocky Mountain Series; 11/17/93)
Chase Josey (Hailey, Idaho; Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation; Big Mountain West Series; 3/31/95)
Lucas Foster (Telluride, Colorado; Jim Smith Club; Rocky Mountain Series; 9/17/99)
Toby Miller (Truckee, California; Tahoe Select Snowboard Team; North Tahoe Series; 2/14/00)
Joey Okesson (Southbury, Connecticut; Okemo Mountain School; Southern Vermont Series; 8/23/02)
 
Women
Chloe Kim (Torrance, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 4/23/00)
Maddie Mastro (Wrightwood, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 2/22/2000)
 
ROOKIE TEAM
Men
Noah Avallone (Montauk, New York; Stratton Mountain School; Southern Vermont Series; 5/16/07)
Alessandro Barbieri (Portland, Oregon; Tahoe Select Snowboard Team; USASA Division - Mt. Hood; 10/5/08)
Levko Fedorowycz (Topanga, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 8/21/04)
Kade Martin (Bellyache Ridge, Colorado; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 1/21/06)
Sumner Orr (Manchester, Vermont; Okemo Mountain School; Southern Vermont Series; 3/22/2006)
 
Women
Sonora Alba (San Pedro, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 7/16/06)
Tessa Maud (Carlsbad, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 10/10/03)
Bea Kim (Palos Verdes, California; Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team; Unbound Series; 1/25/07)
 
SNOWBOARDCROSS
Women

Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, Utah; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 3/24/92)
Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vermont.; Stratton Mountain School; Southern Vermont Series; 8/19/85)
Meghan Tierney (Rumson, New Jersey; International Snowboard Training Center; Rocky Mountain Series; 1/5/97) 
Stacy Gaskill (Golden, Colorado; International Snowboard Training Center; Rocky Mountain Series; 5/21/00)  
 
DEVELOPMENT
Acy Craig (Morrisville, Vermont; Stratton Mountain School; Big Mountain West Series; 12/3/22)
Livia Molodyh (Hubbard, Oregon; Park City Ski & Snowboard; 6/30/99)
Bri Schnorrbusch (Monroe Township, N.J.; Gould Academy Competition Program; Maine Mountain Series; 1/30/2006)
 
Men
Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Michigan; Superior Series; 12/17/81)
Alex Deibold (Manchester, Vermont.; Stratton Mountain School; Southern Vermont Series; 5/8/86)
Hagen Kearney (Norwood, Colorado; International Snowboard Training Center; Rocky Mountain Series; 11/6/91)
Senna Leith (Vail, Colorado; International Snowboard Training Center; Rocky Mountain Series; 4/8/97)  
Connor Schlegel (Edwards, Colorado; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail; Rocky Mountain Series; 3/13/2002)
Jake Vedder (Pinckney, Michigan; International Snowboard Training Center; Great Lakes Snow Series; 4/16/98)
Cody Winters (Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club; Rocky Mountain Series; 4/20/2000)

DEVELOPMENT
Tyler Hamel (Bethel, Maine; Gould Academy; Maine Mountain Series; 7/12/2004)
 
 
COACHING STAFF
Slopestyle Coaching Staff:

  • Mike Ramirez - Co-Head Coach
  • Dave Reynolds - Co-Head Coach
  • Eric Beauchemin - Rookie Team Coach
Halfpipe Coaching Staff:
  • JJ Thomas - Head Coach
  • Maddy Schaffrick - Pro Team Coach
  • Danny Kass - Rookie Team Coach
Snowboardcross Coaching Staff
  • Rob Fagan - Head Coach
  • Nathan Park - Pro Team Coach

Alex Abrams

Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
 

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