Reigning world champions ready to defend titles
Reigning world champions Xuetong Cai (CHN) and Scotty James (AUS) are leading a strong and deep field when riders are taking over the halfpipe at the Sierra Nevada 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships to compete in tomorrow's qualifiers.
James, whose riding went through the roof since his gold medal two years ago descended on Andalusia with a lot of self-confidence having podiumed at the US Open recently whilst also been coming out victorious of the PyeongChang Olympic test event where he also secured his career's second World Cup title.
However, the 22-year-old has some strong competitors to hold at bay.
One of them is the 2013 world champion and 2014 Olympic gold medallist Iouri Podladtchikov who is always a major threat when it comes down to nail it at major events.
In addition, Japanese shredders Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka who had rounded out the Sochi podium three years ago are also finally back to business in the lead-up to the next Olympic Winter Games showing the judges panel their trick set for the first time in the current Olympic qualifier period.
Yiwei Zhang (CHN) is another strong Asian to watch out for while US Snowboarding's Ryan Wachendorfer and Louie Vito have traveled over the pond with a podium finish from the Mammoth Mountain World Cup in their bags.
In the women's event, the field features the top-3 of the last worlds.
Back in Kreischberg two years ago, Xuetong Cai had earned her first title ahead of Spain's favourite Queralt Castellet and Clemence Grimal (FRA).
Jiayu Liu (CHN) and Arielle Gold (USA) also know how to win a gold at major events.
While the Chinese athlete prevailed six years ago in La Molina (ESP), Gold came out successful in Quebec (CAN) four years ago.
Qualifiers are slated to take place on Friday, March 10 at 9:50 AM.