With fresh snow falling on Park City Mountain Resort at the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, the conditions were tough for the athletes in the Visa slopestyle skiing qualifiers on Thursday afternoon (February 26).
The two heats became a game of survival, with the snow making speed a major issue. Devin Logan (West Dover, VT), McRae Williams (Salt Lake City, UT), Chris Laker (Cincinnati, OH), Joss Christensen (Park City, UT), Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, CO), Bobby Brown (Breckenridge, CO) and Tom Wallisch (Pittsburgh, PA) qualified for Friday’s finals.
With snow quickly accumulating on the Park City slopestyle course, the rails became sticky and the jumps hard to clear as the afternoon progressed. But it clearly made little difference for the Americans, as six qualified for the finals out of 10 possible spots. In the first heat, Williams grabbed the third spot, and Laker snagged the fifth, while Christensen, Kenworthy, Brown and Wallisch went one through four in the second heat.
“I love being able to have a contest in Park City. This is the second year now that we’ve had a real platinum-level event at Park City,” said Joss Christensen, who grew up in Park City. “At the same time there is quite a bit of pressure being here, especially when my face is on all the posters. I think that pushes me, because I really want to do well and show how much I love skiing in my hometown.”
The women also had to battle less than ideal conditions. Logan was the only American woman to qualify for the finals, taking fourth.
“Hopefully I can bump my run up for finals and try some different tricks,” said Logan.
The top 10 men that will be skiing in the Slopestyle Finals are:
The 5 women that will be competing in the Ski Slopestyle Finals are:
The freeskiing slopestyle finals take place Friday at 1:15 p.m. MST. NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the event live at 3:30 p.m. EST and NBC will air it on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST.