Friday, February 23, 2024

Huge week of action set to start in Mammoth Mountain

by Miles
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HALFPIPE – WOMEN

X Games history was made over the weekend when 14-year-old Gaon Choi (KOR) become the youngest-ever halfpipe winner – younger even than the great Chloe Kim was when she won her first X Games title. Already the reigning Junior World Champion, Choi seems set to become halfpipe snowboarding’s next big thing for a long time to come.

However, Choi still isn’t old enough to compete in World Cup competition, meaning that the rest of the women’s field won’t be looking over their shoulders at the rising star.

Instead, look to Mitsuki Ono of Japan to step things back up after a fifth-place finish at X Games, as the 18-year-old already has a win in Laax and a third-place finish at Copper Mountain (USA) on her resume for this season.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet is set to drop in on her 60th World Cup start this weekend, and while four of those starts have come in Mammoth over the years, the Beijing 2022 silver medallist has yet to hit the podium here in California.

Coming off a silver at X Games last weekend is Maddie Mastro (USA), who will be leading a host squad that also includes rising starts Sonora Alba and Bea Kim, both of whom made finals at their very first World Cup start in Copper Mountain back in December. Mastro has a third and a second-place finish at Mammoth already to her name, and will be looking to jump up to the top of the podium this week in her home state.

Also keep an eye on the great Cai Xuetong, who is in search of her 30th World Cup podium this weekend. No one else in Park & Pipe World Cup history has as many top-3s as the 29-year-old, and with three previous podiums in Mammoth she’s a good bet to add to those totals this week.

Finally, Canada’s Elizabeth Hosking has been perhaps the most impressive rider in training at Mammoth so far this week. Hosking earned her first career World Cup podium at Copper this season, and looks ready to nab her second here in Mammoth.

HALFPIPE – MEN

With no Scotty James (AUS) or Jan Scherrer (SUI) in Mammoth things are wide open on the men’s side of things, and you can expect a heavy battle for the podium with the World Cup halfpipe rankings top two (and last weekend’s X Games top two) choosing to take a break this week.

As we already mentioned above, X Games bronze medal winner Valentino Guseli is very much on hand here in Mammoth and looking to earn his first World Cup halfpipe podium right on the heels of his first X Games top-3.

We can’t really say enough about the season Guseli is putting together here in 2022/23, as it’s really without precedent. Only four other riders in World Cup history have earned podiums in all three of slopestyle, big air, and halfpipe, and none have accomplished the feat in one 12 month period. If Guseli is able to add a World Cup halfpipe top-3 to his list of accomplishments this season it will be a milestone the likes of which we have never seen before.

If he’s able to also end up in the Mammoth slopestyle top-3, to make it podiums in all three Park & Pipe events in one season, then we will be talking about a truly groundbreaking feat indeed.

That feat won’t be easy, however, especially with the Japanese team out in full force this week.

Ruka Hirano currently sits just above Guseli in third on the World Cup halfpipe rankings after his victory in Laax, and the 20-year-old has two previous Mammoth podiums to his name – including second place last season. Along with three-time halfpipe crystal globe winner Yuto Totsuka and super-booster Kaishu Hirano, the Japanese team is as formidable as ever.

Then of course there’s there’s the USA’s own squad, with Lucas Foster, Ryan Wachendorfer, Chase Blackwell and Joey Okesson all looking to rep the host nation with pride at the Mammoth venue where their national team has had so much success in the past.

WHERE TO WATCH – SLOPESTYLE

YOUTUBE LIVESTREAM, EUROSPORT PLAYER + EUROSPORT 2 (ASIA), ORF SPORT+ (AUT), CBC SPORTS STREAMING (CAN), CT SPORT PLUS (CZE), TV3 SPORT 3HD (EST), V SPORT+ (FIN), YLE AREENA (FIN), L’EQUIPE STREAMING (FRA), ARD SPORTSCHAU (GER), ESPN (LATIN AMERICA), TV3 SPORT (LAT), TV3 SPORT (LIT), V SPORT 3 (NOR), JOJ SPORT (SVK), V SPORT WINTER (SE), VIAPLAY (GBR), SKIANDSNOWBOARD.LIVE (USA), OUTSIDE TV (USA)

WHERE TO WATCH – HALFPIPE 

YOUTUBE LIVESTREAM, EUROSPORT PLAYER (ASIA, EUR), ORF SPORT+ (AUT), CBC SPORTS STREAMING (CAN), CT SPORT (CZE), TV3 SPORT 3HD (EST), V SPORT+ (FIN), L’EQUIPE STREAMING (FRA), ARD SPORTSCHAU (GER), RAI SPORT (ITA), JSPORTS 2 (JPN), ESPN (LATIN AMERICA), TV3 SPORT (LAT), TV3 SPORT (LIT), V SPORT+ (NOR), POLSAT SPORT EXTRA (POL), JOJ SPORT (SVK), V SPORT WINTER (SE), VIAPLAY (GBR), SKIANDSNOWBOARD.LIVE (USA), OUTSIDE TV (USA)

WHERE TO WATCH – SLOPESTYLE

YOUTUBE LIVESTREAM, EUROSPORT 2 & EUROSPORT PLAYER (ASIA, EUR), ORF SPORT+ (AUT), CBC SPORTS STREAMING (CAN), CT SPORT PLUS (CZE), TV3 SPORT 3HD (EST), YLE AREENA (FIN), VIAPLAY (FIN), L’EQUIPE STREAMING (FRA), RAI SPORT (ITA), TV3 SPORT (LAT, LIT), ESPN LATIN AMERICAN, V SPORT+ (NOR), JOJ SPORT (SVK), VIAPLAY (GBR), V SPORT WINTER (SWE), SKIANDSNOWBOARD.LIVE (USA), OUTSIDE TV (USA)

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