Kaitlyn Farrington, 24, and Chase Josey, 18, of the Sun Val-ley Ski Education Foundation’s Snowboard Gold Team are right in the mix of this week’s Sprint U.S. Grand Prix Half-pipe Series event at Copper Mountain, Colo.
During Wednesday’s half-pipe qualifications, Josey pulled off the fourth-best score of 64 riders with a 91.50—sec-ond in his heat behind only 25-year-old French national champ Arthur Longo (93.75).
The only other riders ahead of Josey were American Ben Ferguson (93.75) and Mammoth Mountain’s Greg Bretz, a 2010 Olympic halfpipe rider who scored a 94.00 for the day’s top score. Bretz is the leading U.S. Olympic candidate after win-ning last Saturday in the Dew Tour superpipe at Brecken-ridge, Co.
On her birthday, Farrington tied for fifth overall of 42 women with a top score of 80.75, which was the eighth best. The top qualifier was 30-year-old Kelly Clark of Ver-mont with a 96.00, far ahead of fellow American Arielle Gold (90.50). Clark was the 2002 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist who also won four X Games superpipe gold medals.
The Copper Mountain half-pipe finals are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 21 and due for screening on NBC television Sunday, Dec. 22 from 1-2 p.m. Mountain Standard time.
Copper Mountain is the sec-ond of five Olympic qualifica-tion events. Snowboard ath-letes are competing in the FIS World Cup event with a field of international athletes while also continuing the hunt for spots on the U.S. Olympic half-pipe snowboarding team and the first-ever Olympic slope-style snowboarding team.
Selection to the Olympic snowboarding team will be made from athletes who have a top-four finish against the en-tire field in selection events. Those athletes will be ranked with their best two of five qualifying events using World Cup scoring (1,000 point scale) comparing only USA athletes.