Fresh off of last weekend’s halfpipe World Cup season-opener in Secret Garden, we’re back across the Pacific Ocean and right back at it this week in Copper Mountain, where the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe World Cup is set to go down with qualifications on Wednesday, beginning at 9:30 MT, and finals slated for Friday beginning at 13:00.
GU LOOKING TO MAKE IT TWO-FOR-TWO
The big story in Secret Garden was the return to competition of Eileen Gu (CHN) after 11 months off following an injury suffered last January at the X Games. As expected from the unimpeachable phenom, Gu showed no signs of rust in the return to the site of her Beijing 2022 Olympic gold medal victory, taking the opening World Cup win of the season with relative ease.
Gu made the jump over to Copper for this week’s action, which means the rest of the field will essentially be fighting for second place while the 20-year-old guns for her eighth straight halfpipe World Cup victory – a streak she started here in Copper back at the beginning of the 2021/22 season.
Likely to give Gu her toughest test should be Bakuriani 2023 World Champion Hanna Faulhaber, as the host USA’s top contender looks to finally crack into the top-3 on home soil. So far, all four of Faulhaber’s World Cup podiums have come elsewhere in the world, so a podium result of any kind this week will be a big one for the 19-year-old.
Also in the mix should be Zoe Atkin (GBR), who finished just behind Faulhaber in silver medal position at the World Champs last season. While this will be Atkin’s first start of the season, she’s shown time and again over the past few winters that she doesn’t need a lot of reps to remain amongst the best in the business every time she drops in.
Amy Fraser and Dillan Glennie of Canada, Korea’s Daeun Kim, Liu Fanghui of China, and Svea Irving of the host squad are a few of the other women’s names to watch out for.