The U.S. Freeski Team earned three podium finishes at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth, to finish the event on Sunday. Alex Hall took first place, followed by Nick Goepper in second. Maggie Voisin earned third in the women’s slopestyle.
Alex Hall and Maggie Voisin both earned the podium finishes they needed to be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Slopestyle Team. They join teammates Mac Forehand and Colby Stevenson.
Sunday’s slopestyle event included both qualifiers and finals for the men, the qualifying having been postponed from earlier in the week due to wind. This made for a long day of competition, but none of the athletes showed any signs of fatigue as the competitors battled it out for podium spots.
Two-time Olympic Medalist Nick Goepper put on a demo today earning two of the top scores of the day. He was looking good to take the W, until Alex Hall dropped in for the last run of the event. Under immense pressure, Hall was able to put down a precision run, nailing the rails and the jumps to overtake Goepper and earn the top score of 95.5. This first-place finish sealed Hall’s place nomination to the U.S. Olympic Team.
Hall’s run included a switch right 270 nose tap on to pretzel 450 out over the chain and onto the down rail, and then left 270 front swap to pretzel 270 out on the dip rail, into a switch left 270 front swap to 630 out on the rainbow.
He followed the rail section with a right dub 1080 double Japan and then a switch left dub 1440 mute with a shifty for extra style points.
Hall had this to say, “I’m stoked, I had that rail run in mind. I didn’t really know if it was going to work, it was pretty tech—I think my best rail run I’ve done so far.”
Goepper set the tone for the event holding down the top spot on the podium, even one-upping himself on his second run to further try to hold that spot, which had he held it, would have secured his team nomination. In the end, he earned an admirable second-place finish and a score of 94.75 in a run that included a switch right 270 on to pretzel 450 off, then a left 450 gap on to continuing 270 off on the dip rail, to a right 450 on pretzel 270 off on the rainbow in the upper rail section, ending with a switch right dub bio 1260 mute on the first jump and a massive left dub 1620 tail on the final jump for a score of 94.75.
Goepper said “I love Mammoth, I feel super good, I’ve been coming here for over a decade. I was super focused today, I really needed to get on that podium, I was really trying to get that top spot, but Alex skied super well. It feels really good for my hard work to pay off, but I definitely am looking for another chance.”
Canada's Evan McEachran took the third spot with a score of 93.
Kelly Sildaru made it two FIS World Cup freeski slopestyle wins out of two this season after she edged out rival Eileen Gu in Mammoth on Sunday .
Chinese star Gu, 18, won Saturday's freeski halfpipe event with a stunning run of 97.50 leaving Sildaru in second as their rivalry heats up ahead of the biggest season event in Beijing next month. Sunday, though, saw the Estonian come out strong in her first run with a 93.75 with Gu's score of 91 ensuring a fascinating second run where Sildaru posted 89.25, only for Gu to struggle with a 29.
American Maggie Voisin recorded a 90 second time around to claim third place with British 17-year-old Kirsty Muir's first run of 86.25 seeing her finish in fifth as her good season form continues. Sildaru, 19, now tops the FIS World Cup freeski slopestyle standings by 95 points from Voisin while she cuts Gu's overall park & pipe title lead to 211 points ahead of the Font Romeu stop this week.
Voisin said, “I really don’t have words, to say that I’m going to my third Olympic Games is a dream come true. It took a lot to get here to this moment. The last couple years I’ve gone through a lot personally and with injuries. To come back and put down a good run is really a dream come true.”