After two weeks of competition at Park City, the US Olympic Freeskiing slopestyle and halfpipe teams have been announced. These 11 athletes make up four teams, the U.S. Olympic men’s and women’s slopestyle and halfpipe teams. For the 2014 Winter Olympics ski halfpipe and slopestyle were added to the winter sports competition. Considering that the first twin tip ski, the Salomon 1080, was introduced in 1998, the world of ‘newschool’ freeskiing has very well gaining credibility and international recognition. With winter off to a slow, sorry… really slow, start in the West and NorthWest, the Winter Olympics might sound like a joke. A celebration of snow, when there is no snow… cruel.
– David Wise, Reno, NV
– Aaron Blunck, Crested Butte, CO
– Lyman Currier, Boulder, CO
– Torin Yater-Wallace, Aspen, CO
– Maddie Bowman, S. Lake Tahoe, CA
– Brita Sigourney, Carmel, CA
– Angeli VanLaanen, Bellingham, WA
– Annalisa Drew, Andover, MA
– Nick Goepper, Lawrenceburg, IN
– Bobby Brown, Breckenridge, CO
– Gus Kenwortyh, Telluride, CO
– Joss Christensen, Park City, UT
– Devin Logan, W. Dover, VT
– Keri Herman, Bloomington, IN
– Julia Krass, Hanover, NH
– Maggie Voision, Whitefish, MT
Names in italics were added January 21 and are discretionary nominations. The preliminary list published January 18 reflected objective qualifiers, based on rankings following the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand-Prix, a five event tour culminating in a final two event series at Park City. These 11 initial nominations left space for four additional nominations, discretionary nominations, announced afterwards based on coaches decisions.
For every Olympic Freeskiing team the U.S. Olympic Committee can nominate four athletes. Doing the math the U.S. can still nominate five athletes. However, no nation can send more than 26 athletes to the olympics from all freeskiing disciplines; moguls, aerials, ski cross, ski halfpipe, and ski slopestyle.
Considering the calibre of freestyle skiing in the U.S., the level of competition to make the U.S. Freeskiing team could eclipse the Olympic showdown. Notoriously absent from this list are a few names. where are Tom Wallisch, Simon Dumont, or Tanner Hall? The biggest surprise being that Tom Wallisch was not nominated to the U.S. slopestyle team, especially given his impressive track record. Wallisch has competed in every major slopestyle competition over the past few years with very consistent results. To boot, Wallisch has been synonymous with slopestyle skiing, and is one of the most recognized skiers nationwide currently. Sounds like an excellent choice, an athlete who is both widely recognized and has consistent competition results. Seems like some logic is missing here in this choise? Coming off a knee injury in January 2013, there is talk that the same knee could be troubling him, impacting his trick choices.
Tanner Hall bowed out from competition this fall for good, choosing to focus on personal progression and enjoying skiing. Can’t blame the man, he is at his best and most progressive when he is doing what he wants to, instead of trying to throw down runs for scores. Simon Dumont, a longstanding halfpipe competitor, tore his ACL training for the Olympics, but thanks to his drive and superhuman pain tolerance threw down one qualifying run, scoring 72.20, on a torn ACL.
Before Sochi there are still the X-Games from January 22-26. Watch for Tom Wallisch throwing down especially hard, J.