We can’t really mention the U.S. Snowboarding Team without mentioning the luminary Shaun White. Riding out of Lake Tahoe’s Northstar, Shaun has been competing in snowboarding in the Olympics and other world-class events for longer than some of his newer competitors have been snowboarding. And he’s really still that good. Consistently landing gravity- and mind-defying tricks and getting more amplitude than anyone else, Shaun White is still the guy to beat — especially in the halfpipe events. White is currently attempting to qualify in the new Snowboarding Slopestyle event, and with Vail‘s Lindsey Vonn trying to recoup from a knee injury, he may be the most likely U.S. winter athletes who can podium in two events.
U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe
Salt Lake City-based Louie Vito, 25, and second-time Winter Olympics competitor is also expected to do well and is among a small group of international snowboarders that give White a run for his money. Greg Bretz, 23, of Mammoth, Calif., who will compete in his second Olympic games is another name to watch, as he inched White out of first place in the most recent qualifier at Breckenridge.
Olympic veteran and two-time medalist Kelley Clark, who hails from Mount Snow, Vt., recently celebrated her 30th birthday and her 60th career win, and like White, is someone the up-and-coming competitors still look to, to pave the way forward. Young gun, Arielle Gold, 17, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., is one of snowboarding’s newest competitors. Gold came into the spotlight in a serious way last year, podiuming at several big events and even winning two. Elena Hight, 24, of Northstar, Calif., is one of snowboarding’s most progressive ladies, trying new tricks in competition and pushing the sport to new heights. At five-foot, this little lady manages to get some of the most impressive amplitude, too. So be sure to tune in.
U.S. Snowboarding Slopestyle
Keep an eye out for Sage Kostenberg, 20, of Park City, Utah. This smooth operator has been competing in professional snowboarding since the age of 12. Eric Willet, 25, of Breckenridge, Colo., alternatively had a late start to professional snowboarding, but the consistent slopestyle rider has been on or around the X Games podium for the last four years.
Lake Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson, 23, is likely to take a gold medal home from Sochi and show the world just what slopestyle snowboarding is. Newcomers, Jessika Jenson, 22, and Jordie Karlinski, 24, of Aspen/Snowmass, Colo., may have only been on the U.S. Snowboarding Team for a couple of seasons, but the’re both forces to be reckoned with. Karlinksi is consistent in landing her tricks and Jenson has a creative, unique approach to her runs.