Freestyle Skiing Preview
In the Olympic debut of halfpipe and slopestyle skiing in 2014, the U.S. dominated, capturing three of the four gold medals available in those disciplines. Iconic results include the U.S. men’s slopestyle podium sweep by Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper, and the halfpipe gold-medal sweep by Maddie Bowman and David Wise. Team USA is capable of attaining, even building upon, that level of success in PyeongChang.

Kenworthy, Goepper, Bowman, Wise and Devin Logan will all be returning to the PyeongChang 2018 to defend their respective Olympic titles.  Although their silver medals from Sochi 2014 are in slopestyle, Kenworthy and Logan are extremely competitive in halfpipe as well. Kenworthy fell short of being a dual discipline Olympic athlete in 2018, just missing his spot on the halfpipe team against an incredibly competitive U.S. field, while Devin Logan realized this monumental achievement by securing spots on both the halfpipe and slopestyle Olympic teams. After suffering injuries leading up to and during the Sochi Games, Maggie Voisin and Torin Yater-Wallace are healthy and hungry for top Olympic results. They both will be out for redemption in PyeongChang. Bowman and Wise will both be making another run to defend their Olympic titles, while Annalisa Drew, who performs one of the most difficult runs in women’s halfpipe, will have her chance to improve on her ninth-place finish from 2014.

With veterans such as Hannah Kearney and Emily Cook retired from the sport, the U.S. has seen a new era of moguls and aerials specialists emerge. The U.S. had four top-10 finishes and a bronze medal from Kearney in Sochi. Heading into PyeongChang, there is much potential to build on that success.

The U.S. aerials team has also seen a tremendous amount of success leading up to 2018. Ashley Caldwell continues to be a dominant force on the women’s world cup circuit, performing triple flips and landing multiple podium appearances en route to the overall world cup title in 2016 and a world championship gold medal in 2017. Kiley McKinnon and Sochi 2014 Olympian Mac Bohonnon also saw success during the 2015 season, bringing home both the women’s and men’s overall titles for the first time since 1995. Jon Lillis has made a name for himself since taking the FIS World Championship gold medal alongside Caldwell in 2017.

On the moguls side, the U.S. has seen top results from a myriad of athletes, demonstrating depth and a high level of talent in both the men’s and women’s divisions. A familiar face heading into the Games is Brad Wilson, who, after suffering a knee injury in 2014, returned to the world cup circuit late during the 2015-16 season, surprising everyone with a comeback win. Mainer Troy Murphy is also a strong contender with a fifth-place finish at the 2017 test event and an air package with a high degree of difficulty. On the women’s team, Morgan Schild and Jaelin Kauf have established themselves as strong, consistent skiers backed by a talented group of athletes who are all capable of Olympic success.

Storylines

  • Skiing with a clear mind and no secrets, Gus Kenworthy will be a strong candidate for an Olympic medal once again – in halfpipe, slopestyle or both. He has topped the overall Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) rankings for six consecutive seasons and twice medaled at the 2016 X Games in halfpipe and slopestyle.

  • Sochi veterans Gus Kenworthy, Nick Goepper, Devin Logan, Maddie Bowman and David Wise are all Olympic medalists looking for repeat podium performances in PyeongChang. Experience with the pressure and production value of the Games will be on their side as they look to defend their titles.

  • After pushing through a string of unlucky injuries to land a spot on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, Torin Yater-Wallace fell short and missed the Olympic finals in halfpipe skiing. He recovered, and was poised to reclaim his halfpipe dominance in 2015-16. But in November 2015, he became ill, suffering from an infection caused by an abscess in his liver that filled his lungs with fluid. The infection could have killed him, but luckily he recovered and was cleared to ski in January. Yater-Wallace has proved he is strong and ready for competition by earning an objective spot through his competition results this time around, as opposed to the discretionary spot he obtained in 2014.

  • As the poster child for women’s halfpipe skiing, Maddie Bowman has been in the limelight in the build-up to PyeongChang. Bowman’s runs are some of the most technically difficult in women’s competition and she continues to dominate the field. She will be looking to defend her gold medal from Sochi 2014 and continue to break down barriers in the sport.

  • With a strict workout routine, training schedule and family to take care of, David Wise may be one of the hardest working athletes in his sport. His wife, Alexandra, and daughter, Nayeli, were in the crowd to watch him win gold at Sochi 2014. His son, Malachi, born just after the 2014 Games, will have the opportunity to see his father defend his title. David has proved himself to be one of the most consistent skiers in the game, which should fare him well in PyeongChang.

  • Aerial athletes and brothers Chris Lillis and Jon Lillis (also known as Team Lillis) were aiming to take the Winter Olympic Games by storm, but Chris unfortunately suffered a season-ending injury in December 2017. Jon is more motivated than ever to represent his country and his family at the Games and jump for Chris and his brother Mikey, who passed away in October 2017.

  • Brad Wilson is making his second Olympic appearance in 2018. Mogul skiing is a Wilson family affair as Brad’s older brother, Bryon, who won the Olympic bronze medal in 2010, has been a strong inspiration to him.

  • After multiple dual moguls podiums and a world championship bronze medal in the 2016-17 season, Jaelin Kauf has translated her success in dual moguls to singles, landings four podiums, including two wins, during the Olympic qualification period. She is coming into the Games as the top athlete on the women’s world cup. The daughter of two pro mogul skiers, skiing bumps is in Jaelin’s blood.

  • Morgan Schild suffered a knee injury in March 2015 and took 22 months off to rehab and recover. Her hard work paid off when she returned to competition in January 2017 and landed on the podium. Since then, she’s added three more podiums to her resume. She competes with a cork 7 on her bottom air and is one of the only women on the world cup to do so.

  • Ten different athletes accounted for the 13 podiums earned by U.S. moguls and aerials skiers during the 2015-16 season, demonstrating a high level of depth and podium potential across both aerials and moguls.

Athletes To Watch

Maddie Bowman
After winning gold in her sport’s debut at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Bowman (South Lake Tahoe, California) is poised to defend her title. She’s coming off a successful 2015-16 season with an X Games bronze medal and two wins on the World Cup tour.

Ashley Caldwell
Aerials specialist Caldwell (Ashburn, Virginia) is a two-time Olympian and the reigning women’s world cup champion. A five-time world cup winner, she consistently performs some of the hardest triple flips on the women’s circuit and is leading the charge for the U.S. women’s aerials team.

Annalisa Drew
Things are coming together for Drew (Andover, Massachusetts), who podiumed at X Games last season and kicked off 2016-17 with a podium finish at the U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain. She has the drive and competitiveness to put down a podium-worthy run and, with back-to-back 900s and a left 1080 in her arson, her run is one of the most difficult on the women’s circuit. Expect Anna to come to the 2018 Games with a medal on her mind.

Alex Ferreira
After nearly qualifying but just missing out on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, Ferreira (Aspen, Colorado) found redemption by locking in an objective position in halfpipe with a strong performance at Mammoth Mountain, California. Alex will now join his childhood friend and long-time ski buddy Torin Yater-Wallace in PyeongChang.

Jaelin Kauf
Previously considered a dual moguls specialist, Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyoming) has translated the excitement and drive of skiing against someone into her singles runs. She has seven-career world cup podiums and a bronze world championship medal. Speed is the name of the game with Jaelin and she consistently puts down the fastest runs on the world cup. Her parents, Scott and Patti, were both skiers on the pro mogul tour. She’s coming into the 2018 Games as the current women’s leader in the FIS World Cup Standings.

Gus Kenworthy
At Sochi 2014, Kenworthy (Telluride, Colorado) won the silver medal in the Olympic debut of slopestyle skiing. Also known for making history off the slopes, he became one of the first action sports athletes to publicly identify as gay in October 2015. During the ensuing 2015-16 season, he won two silver X Games medals for halfpipe and slopestyle, and also landed a halfpipe win at the U.S. Grand Prix. Kenworthy will represent the U.S. Olympic Slopestyle Team in PyeongChang.

Jon Lillis
Lillis (Rochester, New York) landed his first career world cup podium, a second-place finish, in Moscow in February 2016. He took home the 2017 world championship gold medal alongside his teammate Ashley Caldwell in 2017. With consistent top-10 world cup finishes, he played a major role in helping the U.S. capture the Nations Cup two times during the Olympic quad.

Devin Logan
Logan (West Dover, Vermont) is a strong contender in both slopestyle and halfpipe skiing and will, for the first time, represent both teams in PyeongChang. She brought home the slopestyle silver medal from Sochi 2014, and since then, has landed multiple top-10 finishes on the world cup between the two disciplines. Devin Logan will most likely be the only duel discipline (SS & HP) athlete at the 2018 Games.

Morgan Schild
After suffering a knee injury in 2015, Schild (Pittsford, New York) made a strong return to competition in 2016-17 with two podiums on home snow, including her second career win at Deer Valley Resort in Utah. At 20 years old, Schild is young, healthy and skis clean, fast runs to propel herself to the top.

Brita Sigourney
Sigourney (Carmel, California) finished an impressive sixth in Sochi’s halfpipe competition and will be returning with more momentum than ever. She had two podiums in the last two selection events and has seemed to steadily improve every time she’s dropped into the pipe this season. Look for Brita to be a major podium contender in PyeongChang.

Maggie Voisin
Voisin (Whitefish, Montana) qualified for the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 at age 15, becoming the youngest skier to be named to the U.S. Olympic Team since 1972, but unfortunately she suffered a broken ankle during training and was unable to compete. Recent results, including a second-place finish at the Olympic test event in PyeongChang, indicate Voisin will once again be a strong contender as she is headed back to the Games for a second chance.

McRae Williams
Although he may be relatively soft spoken, his results speak for themselves. In addition to being the 2017 FIS Slopestyle World Cup Champion, Williams (Park City, Utah) has also achieved podiums at most major freeskiing events around the world. After missing out on the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team, McRae will be joining the likes of Nick Goepper, Gus Kenworthy and Alex Hall with the goal of bringing home a medal to Utah and adding to the U.S. slopestyle skiing legacy.

Bradley Wilson
Moguls specialist Wilson (Butte, Montana) is a 2014 Olympian and three-time world cup winner. After suffering a knee injury in 2014, he made a stunning return to competition on Feb. 27, 2016, with a win in Tazawako, Japan. His dedication to his recovery has made him stronger than ever and he’s poised for a great performance in PyeongChang.

David Wise
After winning the gold medal at Sochi 2014, Wise (Reno, Nevada) continues to post top results. As a veteran in the sport, he has a deep back of tricks and puts down technical runs with massive amounts of amplitude. He will once again be a strong contender at the 2018 Games.

Torin Yater-Wallace
Yater-Wallace (Basalt, Colorado) has one of the best runs in halfpipe skiing. After injuries prevented him from heading to the 2014 Games, entering the 2018 Games healthy will be his greatest advantage, and he’ll be coming out firing for his second chance to reach the podium at the Olympics.

Qualification

Athletes were eligible for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games if they earned one top-30 finish at a FIS World Cup or world championships event between July 2016 and Jan. 21, 2018. Additionally, athletes must have earned a minimum of 80 FIS points in moguls, aerials and skicross, and a minimum of 50 FIS points for slopestyle and halfpipe.

Click 
here to view the complete 2018 Olympic qualification procedures for freestyle skiing.

Selection

Team USA athletes vied for up to 30 freestyle spots that are divided between halfpipe, slopestyle, skicross, moguls and aerials with a maximum quota of four starters in each discipline per gender. Athletes could qualify for these spots based on various criteria, in part utilizing results from international competition during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. 

Click here to view the complete 2018 Olympic selection procedures from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association. 


Editor’s Note: This selection process overview is designed to provide general information only and should not be relied upon by athletes attempting to make the U.S. Olympic Team. The selection process is formally governed by selection procedures published by each National Governing Body. Athletes and other individuals interested in the selection process should contact the appropriate NGB to obtain the full selection procedures, or to seek clarification of the process.

Key Dates

Dec. 6-10 Copper Mountain Grand Prix Copper Mountain, Colorado

Dec. 9

FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Moguls)

Ruka, Finland

Dec. 15-16 Dew Tour Breckenridge, Colorado

Dec. 16-17

FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Aerials)

Secret Garden, China

Dec. 21-22

FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Moguls)

Thaiwoo, China

Jan. 6

FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Aerials)
FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Moguls)

Moscow, Russia
Calgary, Alberta

Jan. 10-11

FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Moguls)

Deer Valley, Utah

Jan. 10-14 Aspen Grand Prix Aspen, Colorado
Jan. 12 FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Aerials) Deer Valley, Utah
Jan. 17-21 Mammoth Grand Prix Mammoth, California
Jan. 19-20 FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Aerials) Lake Placid, New York
Jan. 20 FIS World Cup/Olympic Qualifier (Moguls) Tremblant, Quebec
Jan. 22 U.S. Olympic Team announcement
Subject to change