SCOTTY JAMES LOOMS LARGEST IN DEEP MEN’S FIELD
For the men we’re looking at the same situation as the women here in Copper, where the Olympic champion won’t be on hand but darn near every other rider who matters in halfpipe snowboard will very much be dropping in.
Looming largest amongst those on the men’s side is Scotty James (AUS), Beijing 2022 silver medallist and winner of just about anything there is to win in the pipe, from World Championships to crystal globes to X Games golds and everything in between.
However, James was largely absent from the World Cup last season as he focused on the Games, entering only the Laax Open where he finished a surprising 11th. Look for him to right the ship and be in the hunt for his seventh career World Cup victory – and his third at Copper – on Friday.
While Ayumu Hirano won’t be dropping in on the US Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, the Japanese team is still the strongest force in halfpipe snowboarding even without their three-time Olympic medallist, with Ayumu’s brother Kaishu Hirano, Yuto Totsuka, Ruka Hirano and and handful of others all outrageously talented. Totsuka and Ruka Hirano in particular have been exceptional at Copper with podiums in both of the last two events here, including a win for Ruka at last year’s competition.
Beijing 2022 bronze medallist Jan Scherrer was second here in Copper last season and can be counted on to bring his unique style to the event once again, and the same can be said of Taylor Gold, who’s got two prior victories at Copper, though none since the 2014/15 season.
With the likes of Chase Josey, Lucas Foster, Joey Okesson, Toby Miller and a handful of others riding along with Gold, the US team is looking primed to make some noise this weekend on home soil.
Finally, watch out for Valentino Guseli (AUS), the 17-year-old triple-threat who’s fresh off his first career World Cup victory at the Edmonton (CAN) Style Experience big air this past weekend. Guseli now has podiums in both slopestyle and big air, and it’s just a matter of time before he adds a pipe top-3 to that tally. When he does, he’ll join an elite group that includes Finnish legends Janne Korpi and Peetu Piiroinen and perhaps a couple of others with top-3’s in all three Park & Pipe competitions.
WHERE TO WATCH (livestream links below)
skiandsnowboard.live (USA), Eurosport 2 Asia, Eurosport Asia streaming, ORF Sport+ (AUT), CBC streaming (CAN), CCTV16 (CHN), CT Sport Plus streaming (CZE), TV3 Sport 3HD (EST), V Sport + (FIN, NOR), L’Equipe streaming (FRA), JSPORTS 2 (JPN), TV3 Sport (LAT, LIT), ESPN Latin America, Polsat Sport News (POL), JOJ Sport (SVK), TVE/Teledeporte (ESP), V Sport Vinter (SWE), Viaplay streaming (GBR)