Silverthorne teen Red Gerard is Olympic-bound after Snowmass slopestyle win
The Aspen Times
Silverthorne teen sensation Red Gerard is headed to the Olympics.
The 17-year-old won the men’s snowboard slopestyle contest Friday at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix in Snowmass to join fellow Summit County rider Chris Corning on the U.S. national team, which includes big air.
“It’s definitely cool. I’m psyched to go and it will be a pretty cool experience,” Gerard said after Friday’s win. “It will be cool to be part of that for sure. I’m not too big of a fan of the big air, but I’m definitely psyched to go to Pyeongchang.”
Gerard’s second run of 87.28 was nearly perfect. Weather forced officials to shutdown the final feature of the slopestyle course, a dual-winged jump that will be part of the Olympic course in Pyeongchang next month, meaning riders could only score as high as 87.5. With nothing to gain in his third and final run, Gerard did his best to get that last quarter of a point, but had to settle for 87.16.
“It was very clean,” fellow American rider Ryan Stassel said of Gerard’s winning run. “He did some good rails and his jumps were solid and the judges rewarded him for that.”
Stassel, a 2014 Olympian from Alaska, was second among Americans on Friday, finishing seventh overall with a score of 74.77. Chandler Hunt, the third American in finals, was eighth with 68.47. Hunt is currently third and Stassel fourth in the U.S. Olympic team selection rankings with one qualifying event to go.
“With very little practice, I’m happy with what I did,” Stassel said as the weather led to a short delay at the start of finals. “When I made the team last time, I was the underdog and wasn’t really expecting it. This time, if I get to go, I know what it’s going to take. I understand where my riding needs to be. It would really be a dream come true to get back and have a second chance at doing well.”
Corning, who spent time training with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, dropped out of the Snowmass competition to let an injury heal. Corning was the first to officially qualify for the Olympics. He is likely to skip the final Olympic qualifier in Mammoth next week as well, but plans to compete at X Games Aspen at the end of the month.
Japan’s Hiroaki Kunitake was second behind Gerard with an 83.64 on Friday, while New Zealand’s Tiam Collins scored 83.57 for third.
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