Hammer time at men's halfpipe qualifiers at Copper Mountain
US team sends it with nine riders approaching to the finals of top 16
Yesterday brought the first qualifiers of an huge snowboard freestyle weekend at Copper Mountain, CO, with the boys kicking off things in the 160 metres long, perfectly shaped 22-foot superpipe under bluebird sky.
A fantastic setting for the deep and strong field with only Shaun White (USA) and Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) missing out had lined up in three heats.
65 men were keen to make it to the finals in an event of high importance as the season's third FIS World Cup halfpipe contest is also the penultimate of the Olympic qualifier process.
And as the hosting nation is also currently holding their race for the Olympic spots, the U.S. Snowboarding squad was super pumped to throw down on home soil coming out as dominating roster of the men's qualifiers.
Nine out of 13 US riders who had entered the comp proceeded to the finals of the top 16.
Coming hot off of his Dew Tour win last week, Gerg Bretz put the hammer down earning the high score of 94.00 with his first run qualifying first for Saturday night's finals.
“I'm super stoked that I was able to put one down and to move on to the next round,” Bretz said after nailing a frontside double cork 1080 to cab 1080, back-to-back 900's and another frontside 1080 to finish things off.
Besides Bretz, two US rookies stood out and wowed the crowd.
While Chase Josey, a 18-year-old kid from Hailey, ID, took the second spot of heat 2 with 91.50 for his second run consisting of a double michalchuk into a frontside double 1080, cab 1080, frontside 900 and a method in the end, Ben Ferguson killed it in heat 1 with 93.75.
The 18-year-old ripper from Bend, OR, impressed the judges with a double crippler to backside 900, frontside 720 nose, cab double 1080 and a final backside alley-oop.
“The qualifiers went really well. I'm stoked for the finals. I'm just happy to be here with all of these dudes,” Ferguson said.
The member of the U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Rookie Team will face a stacked contest in the finals of the top 16 men with riders like Scotty Lago (USA), Ayumu Hirano (JPN) and Arthur Longo (FRA) also aiming for the big shot.
Check the start list for the men's finals here.
Click here for the full results of the qualifiers.
The finals are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 21, 7 PM MST (3 AM CET).
You can follow the event through the live scoring or watch the recap on NBC on Sunday, Dec. 22, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST.