While the Canadians look strong, no nation can match the USA when it comes to freeski halfpipe firepower. With Irving, three-time Olympic medallist David Wise, two-time Olympic medallist Alex Ferreira, two-time World Champion Aaron Blunck, and a whole slew of up-and-comers looking to take their place amongst the halfpipe world’s elite in the coming years, the U.S squad is formidable.
In fact, more than a third of the men’s halfpipe field is made up of US skiers, and you can bet Mackay and the rest of the host squad will be looking over their shoulders at their neighbours from the south throughout the week in Calgary.
Looking outside of North America, the New Zealand team is coming in strong with Gustav Lagnavsky, Ben Harrington and Finley Melville Ives representing the southern hemisphere. Both Lagnavsky and Melville Ives had strong showings in Copper and look ready to challenge for podiums this season.
Then there’s Jon Sallinen of Finland, the lone Scandinavian dropping in this week and a skier who’s been rapidly rising up the ranks over the last two seasons. One of the most technical skiers in the field, Sallinen is looking to become the first Finnish pipe skier to hit the World Cup podium in nearly a decade.
WHERE TO WATCH:
EUROSPORT DISCOVERY, CBC SPORTS STREAMING (CAN), CZECH TV SPORT (CZE), TV3 SPORT 2 HD (EST), V SPORT + (FIN, NOR), TV3 SPORT (LAT, LIT), JOJ SPORT (SLO), VIAPLAY (GBR), skiandsnowboard.live (USA)