Snowboarding Preview
Since 1998, the U.S. Snowboard Team has been the most dominant force in the competitive snowboarding world, earning 24 medals since the sport was added to the Olympic program. Athletes like Shaun White, Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark are household names and have combined to win seven Olympic medals, and the world continues to expect great things from the riders of Team USA.

The team outlook for 2018 is deep with U.S. Grand Prix, X Games, US Open and FIS World Cup podiums aplenty. Olympic golden girl Clark will look to add another halfpipe medal to her collection, after winning her first in 2002. But young star Chloe Kim has been dominating and progressing women’s halfpipe snowboarding, taking huge wins at nearly every event she’s entered.

On the men’s side, keep an eye out for Ben Ferguson, who has quickly risen up the ranks with medals at the X Games and US Open. Also, White hopes to add another Olympic gold medal to his collection from his previous two in Torino and Vancouver.

The U.S. riders are also excited to add big air to the Olympic program with athletes like Sochi slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson and Big Air at Fenway winner Julia Marino looking for medals among the women, while Ryan Stassel and Chas Guldemond are contenders in the men’s field.

Team USA also continues to be a frontrunner in snowboardcross, with Lindsey Jacobellis and Alex Deibold hoping to add more medals to their collections. Also, rising star Hagen Kearney is on a tear, with his coaches already calling him a dark horse for Olympic action. In parallel giant slalom, Justin Reiter won his first world cup in 2015 and will be seeing the chance to capture his first Olympic medal in PyeongChang.

There are 10 snowboarding events on the program for the PyeongChang Games, including men’s and women’s halfpipe, slopestyle, big air, snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom.

Storylines

  • Chloe Kim was too young to compete at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, but her performance in the qualifiers would have been strong enough to earn her a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Should she qualify for the 2018 Olympics, she will look to add an Olympic gold medal to her collection of achievements. A tri-lingual, first-generation American, she will feel right at home when she sets her sights on PyeongChang as South Korea is her parents' home country.

  • Shaun White and halfpipe snowboarding are still very much synonymous. The two-time Olympic gold medalist came up short in Sochi, finishing fourth, but has proved time and time again he is capable of putting down an Olympic medal-winning run.

  • The U.S. snowboardcross athletes all have the advantage of experience on their side. Olympic medalists Lindsey Jacobellis and Alex Deibold, 2014 Olympic team members Faye Gulini, Nate Holland and Nick Baumgartner, and rising star Hagen Kearney will all be vying for spots in 2018.

  • The U.S. Snowboard Team brought home three of the eight gold medals up for grabs in Sochi, plus two bronze medals. With big air now in the mix, Team USA has the potential to bring home even more hardware in 2018.

Athletes To Watch

Jamie Anderson
After winning gold at the Sochi Games in 2014, Anderson (South Lake Tahoe, California) continues to dominate women’s slopestyle and big air snowboarding. During the 2015-16 season, she won an X games silver medal in slopestyle, three world cups – including the slopestyle Olympic test event – and the World Snowboard Federation’s World Championships for slopestyle and big air. She started the 2016-17 season on a similar note, taking a world cup big air win in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

Kelly Clark
Clark (Mammoth Lakes, California) has competed at four Olympic Winter Games and medaled at three, highlighted by a gold-medal-winning effort at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. For nearly 15 years she has been a constant, commanding force on the U.S. team and internationally, compiling 16 X Games medals and 11 world cup wins (as of December 2016).

Brandon Davis 
Davis (Mammoth Lake, California) had a strong 2015-16 season, winning a U.S. Grand Prix and taking the slopestyle title at the World Snowboard Federation’s World Championships. Considered one of the best rail technicians on the U.S. roster, he also qualified first and finished fourth at the Olympic test event in February 2016.

Ben Ferguson
With style that sets him apart from the rest of the crowd, Ferguson (Bend, Oregon) has quickly worked his way into snowboarding's elite circle. He narrowly missed making the Olympic roster in 2014, but has continued to post top results in international competitions, including a silver medal at the 2016 X Games and a win at the 2016 Burton US Open.

Chloe Kim
At just 16 years old, Kim (La Palma, California) is currently dominating the women’s halfpipe snowboarding scene. During the 2015-16 season, she won the Park City U.S. Grand Prix stop and scored a perfect 100. She also won X Games gold at Aspen and Oslo, and both halfpipe and slopestyle at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

Julia Marino
In just her second world cup start, Marino (Westport, Connecticut) soared to a win in front of a hometown crowd at the Big Air at Fenway Park in 2016. She’s netted three more top-10 big air finishes, including a second-place finish at the Olympic test event in November 2016. In 2016 at the World Snowboard Federation’s World Championships, Marino became the first woman ever to land a double in slopestyle competition, and she landed not one, but two in the same run – a Cab double underflip on her first jump and a double backflip on her last jump.

Ryan Stassel
Stassel (Anchorage, Alaska) burst onto the scene prior to the 2014 Olympics, landing himself a spot on the team in Sochi. He’s continued to post impressive results in both slopestyle and big air, including a third-place finish at the big air test event and a third-place finish at the first U.S. Grand Prix of the 2016-17 season. He is currently second in the world cup rankings (as of December 2016).

Qualification

The U.S. can earn up to 26 quota spots in snowboarding for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, including a maximum of 14 athletes of either gender and up to four competitors per event. Athletes may qualify a national spot for the U.S. with one top-30 finish at a FIS World Cup or world championships event between July 1, 2016, and Jan. 21, 2018. Additionally, athletes need to earn a minimum of 100 FIS points in snowboardcross halfpipe snowboarding, 50 FIS points in halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding and 50 FIS points in either slopestyle or big air.

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

Selection

Team USA athletes will compete to fill up to 26 snowboarding spots that are divided between big air, halfpipe, slopestyle and snowboardcross, with a maximum quota of four starters in each discipline per gender. Athletes may 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

Feb. 19

PyeongChang Test Event/FIS World Cup - Halfpipe

PyeongChang, South Korea

March 8-19

2017 FIS World Championships

Sierra Nevada, Spain

 Jan. 22 U.S. Olympic Team announcement
Subject to change