World Cup continues with last stop of Toyota U.S. Grand Prix series
After several stops in Europe over the past weeks, the world's best riders have travelled over the pond again to compete in the 2016-17 season's last stop of the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix tour which will once again serve as snowboard freestyle World Cup event.
From February 1 till 4, the World Cup tour's third halfpipe and fourth slopestyle contests are slated to be staged in Mammoth Mountain, CA.
Mammoth has long served as a training ground for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's top athletes, providing a world-class halfpipe, slopestyle and big air training ground for America’s best snowboarders and skiers.
However it's the second time that one of the US' premier ski and snowboard resorts is prepped and ready to host the world’s elite snowboarders on World Cup level.
Strong and deep field of talent
This week's competitions will also sound the bell for the US Olympic qualifier series for both, slopestyle and halfpipe. As a result, Mammoth Mountain, no stranger to top-level winter sport athletes, is attracting a stacked field of riders.
Watch out for Chloe Kim (USA) as the 16-year-old local halfpipe sensation is aiming for a World Cup three-peat entering her home soil event with wins in Copper Mountain and Laax to her bag.
In addition, her teammates Arielle Gold, runner-up of the LAAX OPEN as well Elena Hight who had a great showing last weekend winning the X Games superpipe win, are also top contenders for a podium finish while strong Chinese athletes Xuetong Cai and Jiayu Liu are also up for a top-3 result.
In the men's event, all eyes are on Chase Josey (USA) who surprised the scene and the judges in Laax with a winning run consisting of five double corks of which two were back-to-back switch doubles.
The 21-year-old current World Cup leader will face some strong competition coming from Switzerland as Pat Burgener – winner of the season's opener in Copper Mountain – and Olympic champion Iouri Podladtchikov have stepped up their games by adding some fresh tricks to their contest runs.
And then there is Scotty James. The reigning world champion from Australia missed his career's first at the LAAX OPEN by a hair's breadth but kept the moment of his second rank finish to triumph at the X Games last Thursday.
Last year, Brandon Davis snatched the win at the Mammoth Mountain World Cup debut
In the slopestyle event, local hero Brandon Davis, the 2016 winner, is facing off against a hungry field.
In the women's event, all eyes are on Olympic champion Jamie Anderson (USA) as well as 2017 X Games gold medallist Julia Marino (USA) who both have the style and the skill-set which it takes to make it at the top.