FREESTYLE SKIING & SNOWBOARD Preview: Season openers for Halfpipe and Moguls

Chloe Kim celebrates her Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe win (Photo by Jon Gaede)

The World Cup ski seasons are slowly opening in all disciplines and this weekend has the start of three Freestyle events, in Halfpipe, Ski Cross and Moguls, plus Snowboard competitions in the Halfpipe. The details:

Halfpipe at Copper Mountain, Colorado (USA)

The 2018 Toyota Grand Prix at Copper Mountain will feature a trainload of Olympic medal winners. The U.S. has announced its entries, including:

Freestyle:
○ David Wise (USA) ~ 2014-18 Freestyle Halfpipe Olympic gold medalist
○ Alex Ferreira (USA) ~ 2018 Freestyle Halfpipe Olympic silver medalist
○ Aaron Blunck (USA) ~ 2017 Freestyle Halfpipe World Champion
○ Brita Sigourney (USA) ~ 2018 Freestyle Halfpipe Olympic bronze medalist
○ Maddie Bowman (USA) ~ 2014 Freestyle Halfpipe Olympic gold medalist
○ Devin Logan (USA) ~ 2014 Freestyle Slopestyle Olympic silver medalist

Snowboard:
○ Chloe Kim (USA) ~ 2018 Snowboard Halfpipe Olympic gold medalist
○ Arielle Gold (USA) ~ 2018 Snowboard Halfpipe Olympic bronze medalist

The schedule for Copper Mountain has qualifications on 5-6 December, with the Freestyle Halfpipe finals in Friday (7th) and the Snowboard Halfpipe finals on Saturday (8th).

In terms of the 2017-18 World Cup in Freestyle Halfpipe, the seasonal leaders were:

Men’s Halfpipe:
1. 362 Alex Ferreira (USA)
2. 279 David Wise (USA)
3. 230 Noah Bowman (CAN)
4. 204 Simon d’Artois (CAN)
5. 192 Birk Irving (USA)

Women’s Halfpipe:
1. 329 Cassie Sharpe (CAN)
2. 306 Brita Sigourney (USA)
3. 264 Kexin Zhang (CHN)
4. 260 Maddie Bowman (USA)
5. 241 Marta Martinod (FRA)

Last December at Copper Mountain, the medal winners included Wise, Bowman and d’Artois for the men, and Martinod, Devin Logan (USA) and Zhang for the women.

The Snowboard Halfpipe standings from 2017-18 showed:

Men’s Halfpipe:
1. 3,000 Yuto Totsuka (JPN)
2. 2,800 Ayumu Hirano (JPN)
3. 1,940 Raibu Katayama (JPN)
4. 1,600 Shaun White (USA)
5. 1,490 Taku Hiraoka (USA)

Women’s Halfpipe:
1. 2,800 Chloe Kim (USA)
2. 2,640 Jiayu Liu (CHN)
3. 2,040 Xuetong Cai (CHN)
4. 2,000 Queralt Castellet (ESP)
5. 2,000 Maddie Mastro (USA)

Last season, Hirano, Ben Ferguson (USA) and White were the men’s medalists and Kim led a U.S. sweep with Mastro and Kelly Clark on the podium.

NBC has Freestyle coverage on Friday on NBCSN at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and Snowboard coverage on Saturday, also at 1 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN. Look for results for Freestyle here, and for Snowboard here.

Moguls at Ruka (FIN)

The ski resort in Ruka (FIN) has been busy already this season, with a major Nordic festival already completed and now the season opener for the Freestyle Moguls competition scheduled for Friday (7th).

That means Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury, the greatest Moguls skier of all time, will be trying for his eighth World Cup seasonal title in a row, to go along with his Olympic gold at PyeongChang in February. The World Cup seasonal standings from 2017-18:

Men:
1. 940 Mikael Kingsbury (CAN)
2. 585 Dmitriy Reikherd (KAZ)
3. 441 Ikuma Horishima (JPN)
4. 342 Sho Endo (JPN)
5. 334 Matt Graham (AUS)

Women:
1. 607 Perrine Laffont (FRA)
2. 561 Britteny Cox (AUS)
3. 467 Jalen Kauf (USA)
4. 462 Andi Naude (CAN)
5. 454 Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN)

Last season, Kingsbury and Cox won the event at Ruka; Kingsbury now has 49 World Cup Moguls wins, the most of any skier all-time. Look for results here.

The Ski Cross opener at Val Thorens (FRA) was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled.