Halfpipe World Cup season preview 2023/24

by Miles
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COPPER MOUNTAIN U.S. GRAND PRIX – USA – 13-15 DEC

Copper Mountain keeps bringing the goods, year in and year out, and last season was no exception as the resort welcomed it’s long-running Grand Prix halfpipe competition back again, while also adding big air World Cup action to its slopes for the first time since 2017/18. “The Athletes’ Mountain” has played host to halfpipe World Cup competition dating back to the 2012/13 season, and remains a highlight every year.

With Chloe Kim expected to make her return to action in Copper this year after stepping back from competition following her Beijing 2022 Olympic gold medal win, this season’s first U.S. Grand Prix is shaping up to be a must-watch event.

LAAX OPEN – SUI – 17-20 JAN 2024

The Laax Open…the name alone is enough to inspire awe and reverence in snowboarders around the globe, and mid-January stands as the most important date on many competitive snowboarder’s World Cup calendars. Laax stands as the spiritual home to freestyle snowboarding in Europe, and with the only pipe on earth that can rival the Olympic venue in Secret Garden, the level of competition year-in and year-out is quite simply mind-blowing.

Heck, even when competition doesn’t happen Laax remains mind-blowing, as with last season where finals were cancelled due to fog and a handful of riders dropped in on an impromptu jam session that resulted in some of the most inspiring halfpipe images in history – including Kaishu Hirano (JPN) and Valentino Guseli (AUS) going back-to-back with the two biggest airs ever seen in a halfpipe.

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN U.S. GRAND PRIX – USA – 31 JAN – 4 FEB 2024

Once again Mammoth Mountain is set to host the biggest Park & Pipe week of the season, with the full freeski and snowboard, slopestyle and halfpipe World Cup tours slated to descend on the Californian resort for a packed week of action to take us into February.

With World Cup competition history dating back to the 2015/16 season, Mammoth has seen an essential who’s-who of the last decade of halfpipe riding hit the podium there, with Shaun White (USA), Kelly Clark (USA), Ayumu Hirano and Cai Xuetong (CHN) a few of the past winners. One interesting note, however, is the fact that California’s own Chloe Kim has never graced the top of the Mammoth podium. Expect the W in Mammoth to be high on her list of priorities this season.

CALGARY SNOW RODEO – CAN – 08-11 FEB 2024

The 2023/24 FIS Snowboard halfpipe season will wrap up at Calgary’s WinSport Canada Olympic Park with the Snow Rodeo once again bringing the yee-haw to the World Cup finale. With a pipe that Shaun White used as his training ground ahead of his gold medal win at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and a hosting history dating all the way back to the very beginning of the FIS Snowboard World Cup in 1996, Calgary’s pedigree knows few peers. Throw in the fact that the venue is just a 30 minute drive from one of Canada’s most major metropolitan centres and you’ve got a pretty special spot for some snowboarding, indeed.

THE HEAVY HITTERS

WOMEN

CHLOE KIM – USA – 23

The expected return to competition this season of two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion Chloe Kim is one of the most hotly-anticipated happenings in all of snowboarding. Kim needs no real introduction here – she’s quite simply the most dominant woman to ever drop in on a halfpipe. Two-for-two in Olympic Winter Games starts, two-for-two in World Championships starts, 10 victories in 14 World Cup starts, six X Games golds, and all of that coming despite essentially taking two full seasons off in the last three years.

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