As Sochi prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, every nation is finalizing its Olympic teams. For the U.S. freestyle skiing team, that process will take shape during the U.S. Grand Prix of Freeskiing from December 16, 2013 to January 18, 2014.
The half-pipe and slopestyle events will make their debut in the Winter Olympics, and the USA is the favorite for gold in both of those events (for men and women). As the U.S. team gets finalized, here is the basic information you need to know about the Grand Prix.
The Grand Prix is broken up into three separate events: the Copper Mountain Grand Prix (hosted in Colorado), the Northstar Grand Prix (hosted in California) and the Park City Grand Prix (in Utah).
All three qualifying competitions will be opportunities for both men and women to earn their place on the U.S. Olympic team for the half-pipe and slopestyle formats of freestyle skiing.
|Copper Mountain||Dec. 16 to Dec. 21||Copper Mountain, Colo.|
|Northstar||Jan. 6 to Jan. 11||Northstar, Calif.|
|Park City||Jan. 15 to Jan. 18||Park City, Utah|
|Men's Slopestyle Qualifiers||Dec. 18||8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.|
|Men's Half-Pipe Qualifiers||Dec. 19||9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.|
|Women's Half-Pipe Qualifiers||Dec. 19||5 p.m to 7 p.m.|
|Women's Slopestyle Qualifiers||Dec. 20||8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.|
|Half-Pipe Finals||Dec. 20||7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.|
|Slopestyle Finals||Dec. 21||11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.|
|Slopestyle Qualifiers||Jan. 8||8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.|
|Half-Pipe Qualifiers||Jan. 9||9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.|
|Slopestyle Finals||Jan. 10||9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.|
|Half-Pipe Finals||Jan. 12||Noon to 1:30 p.m.|
|Women's Slopestyle Qualifiers||Jan. 17||9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.|
|Women's Slopestyle Finals||Jan. 17||12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.|
|Women's Half-Pipe Qualifiers||Jan. 17||4 p.m. to 6 p.m.|
|Women's Half-Pipe Finals||Jan. 17||7 p.m. to 9 p.m.|
|Men's Slopestyle Qualifiers||Jan. 18||9:10 a.m. to 11 a.m.|
|Men's Slopestyle Finals||Jan. 18||Noon to 1:30 p.m.|
|Men's Half-Pipe Qualifiers||Jan. 18||3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.|
|Men's Half-Pipe Finals||Jan. 18||6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.|
David Wise, Half-Pipe
Wise is the favorite to win the inaugural gold medal for the half-pipe event. The 23-year-old is in superb form, winning the gold medal in the 2013 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships to add to his X Games gold medals from 2012 and 2013.
Torin Yater-Wallace, Half-Pipe
Yater-Wallace will be Wise’s biggest competition for gold in Sochi. The 18-year-old from Colorado finished second to Wise in the 2013 FIS World Championships and has taken home the gold in the last two European X Games.
The youngster has performed well in the past despite his age, and Sochi may be his breakout event.
Maddie Bowman, Half-Pipe
Bowman is the favorite for the women’s half-pipe in Sochi after a superb 2012 that saw her make the podium at nearly every major event. The California native took home the silver at the 2012 X Games but blew away the rest of the competition when she won the gold in 2013.
Keri Herman, Slopestyle
Herman became the first American woman to win the slopestyle World Cup title (2012), and she’ll look to take her winning ways into Sochi.
She’s been competing for a while, and her experience and recent run of form will serve her well in the Winter Games.
Emilia Wint, Slopestyle
Wint doesn’t have the same track record of success as some of these other skiers, but she is somebody to keep an eye on during the U.S. Grand Prix and in Sochi. She has taken the slopestyle world by storm with her acrobatic tricks and big air.
The 19-year-old could come out of nowhere to leave Sochi with the gold.