Copper Mountain to host Olympians for ski and snowboard U.S. Grand Prix |

Copper Mountain to host Olympians for ski and snowboard U.S. Grand Prix

A freeskier airs out of the pipe during first round qualifiers at the 2013 Sprint U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain. The competition returns to Copper Mountain next Wednesday through Saturday, Dec. 3-6. This year will limited to halfpipe. Unlike year's past, there will be no a slopestyle competition.
Sebastian Foltz / |

U.S. Grand prix schedule

Wednesday, Dec. 3

8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Freeski qualifiers

2:30 p.m.– 3:30 p.m., Snowboard practice

Thursday, Dec. 4

8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Snowboard qualifiers

2:30 p.m.– 3:30 p.m., Freeski practice

Friday, Dec. 5

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Freeski practice

12:30 p.m.– 2 p.m., Freeski halfpipe finals

Awards immediately following

Saturday, Dec. 6

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Snowboard halfpipe practice

12:30 p.m.– 2 p.m., Snowboard halfpipe Finals

Awards immediately following

Before any athletes drop in on the Dew Tour halfpipe and slopestyle courses in Breckenridge, Dec. 11-14, some of the world’s best superpipe skiers and snowboarders will kick off their seasons at Copper Mountain Resort with the annual U.S. Grand Prix, Dec. 3-6.

For some of last winter’s Sochi Olympians, this will be the first big competition of the season.

“For halfpipe it’s go time,” U.S. Freeskiing and Snowboarding team spokeswoman Tricia Byrnes said.

Unlike years past, this year’s event — part of the three-stop Grand Prix tour — will not include slopestyle. Although it’s not an Olympic qualifier, as an event sanctioned jointly by the International Ski Federation (FIS), Association of Freeski Professionals (AFP) and World Snowboard Tour, it will attract an Olympic-caliber lineup.

Earlier this week Grand Prix officials announced another star-studded list of athletes expected to attend, headlined by Sochi gold medalists Kaitlyn Farrington, David Wise and Maddie Bowman and four-time Olympian Kelly Clark.

“It’s always great going to Copper for the first contest of the year,” 2010 Olympian Louie Vito said of the Grand Prix. “It’s great to start the season off in a good pipe and at a good event like the Grand Prix. I’m very excited to get the season rolling and get back in the swing of things and see all our friends.”

In addition to top halfpipe medalists, slopestyle silver medalists Devin Logan and Telluride’s Gus Kenworthy are expected to compete. Kenworthy will likely be joined by fellow Colorado Olympians Aaron Blunck, Torin Yater-Wallace and the Steamboat Springs snowboarding brother sister pair of Taylor and Arielle Gold.

Coverage of the competition will be available online via and on TV on Dec. 6-7 on NBCSN; it will be rebroadcast later in December on NBC.

Copper Pipe

In preparation for the competition, Copper Mountain officials announced that the resort’s 22-foot Olympic-size superpipe will open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 29-30. It will then be closed for athlete training starting on Monday. It will reopen to the public after the Grand Prix on Sunday. Freeski halfpipe qualifiers will kick off the Grand Prix on Wednesday morning, Dec. 3, at 8:30 a.m. Freeski finals will take place Friday, Dec. 5, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Snowboard finals will follow on Saturday during the same time period. NBCSN will broadcast the finals on tape delay the day after each final, Saturday and Sunday.

Where to watch

The U.S. Grand Prix is free to the public to attend and will take place in the superpipe above Copper Mountain’s Center Village. Guests will be able to hike or ski up to watch from the bottom of the pipe. They will also be able to view from a spectator area along one of the halfpipe’s walls.

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