Silverthorne snowboarders Corning, Gerard highlight High Country locals invited to Aspen | SummitDaily.com

Silverthorne snowboarders Corning, Gerard highlight High Country locals invited to Aspen

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

Silverthorne slopestyle snowboarders Chris Corning and Red Gerard highlight a group of local athletes who were invited to compete at next month's X Games Aspen 2018.

Corning and Gerard are two of 110 athletes from myriad countries set to take part in the event at Buttermilk Mountain from Jan. 25-28. Both are scheduled to compete in the men's snowboard slopestyle event and aren't currently listed to compete in the big air competition.

Corning and Gerard will be joined at the X Games by their fellow Colorado High Country athletes such as superpipe snowboarder Arielle Gold of Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs, superpipe skiers Torin Yater-Wallace and Alex Ferreira of Aspen, superpipe snowboarder Jake Pates of Eagle-Vail, superpipe snowboarder and X Games Aspen 2017 second place finisher Matt Ladley of Steamboat Springs, slopestyle and big air skier Gus Kenworthy of Telluride, superpipe snowboarder Nike Baden of Steamboat Springs and defending X Games Aspen superpipe ski gold medalist Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte.

Corning, 18, is battling a lingering lower back injury and is fresh off of securing a spot on the United State's Olympic slopestyle and big air team thanks to two second place finishers at Olympic qualifiers the past two weekends at Copper Mountain Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort. Gerard, 17, is vying to join Corning as one of three members on the U.S. slopestyle team, as the members will also be able to partake in the inaugural Olympic big air event.

Gerard helped his cause by winning the Olympic slopestyle qualifier at Mammoth Mountain last February and finished fourth in the Dew Tour slopestyle event at Breckenridge last weekend. The three-person U.S. slopestyle and big air team will be determined through two more selection events: the Aspen Grand Prix from Jan. 10-13 and the return to the Mammoth Grand Prix from Jan. 17-20.

X Games Aspen at the end of January will serve as the final competition for many Olympians before the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games begin on Feb. 9. Several High Country athletes including Ferreira and Pates are riding high into the new year, as each shocked many in attendance at Dew Tour last week in winning the men's ski and snowboard superpipe events, respectively. Those wins also were massive for Ferreira and Pates' Olympic hopes, as the Dew Tour halfpipe finals served as Olympic qualifiers.