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Kim Completes Podium Perfect Season, White Fourth at USGP

By Jamie Wanzek
March, 21 2021
Chloe Kim dropping in at the 2021 Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen, Colo. (U.S. Snowboard Team - @markclavin)

Chloe Kim won again, taking her fourth consecutive victory at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe finals Sunday at Buttermilk in Aspen, Colo in style.

With sunshine and spring conditions on full display in the halfpipe, athletes wrapped the 25th Annual Grand Prix with the Olympic tryout event for athletes vying for a shot at Team USA and the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

Kim put down a clean first run, wasting no time to take the top seat. With no shortage of flair or smiles, Kim opened her run by floating a backside 360 with an indy grab. She then backed her first hit with a switch Method, clearing 15-feet out of the pipe, and finished with a stylish McTwist on her final hit. Kim’s first run would be all it took to dominate the women’s halfpipe field. Spain’s Queralt Castellet finished second and Japan’s Sena Tomita was third.

“I think that I was in a really bad mental place when I left (for Princeton University after the prior to the 2019-20 season), so I think giving myself the time off and letting myself take a step back and have fun again was really important for me,” said Kim. “I am honestly so happy that I took the year off. I am so grateful to be here right now. I am very surprised with how this season went. It went a lot better than I thought it would.”

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White made his return to the competition scene for the first time since the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, finishing fourth as the top American. Vying for a chance at his fourth Olympic Games, White made it clear he hasn’t lost his touch despite a three-year break from competition. Showing the kids how it’s done, the halfpipe veteran put down three consistent runs, with a minor fluke in run two. White put down major tricks including a frontside double cork 1440, a cab double cork 1080, and a double mctwist 1260. 

But Japan’s Yuto Totsuka and Raibu Katayama are clearly at the top of the young class, finished first and second respectively.  Germany’s Andre Hoeflich finished in third.

U.S. Snowboard team member Chase Blackwell was fifth, making an appearance among a highly stacked men’s halfpipe final. While runs one and three resulted in falls, Blackwell managed to put down a strong second run including two double corks and a frontside 900.

“I was stoked to put something down,” said Blackwell. “This year my riding really progressed quite a bit. With my line and everything, I’ve been riding at a whole new level than I was before. I am really pumped with how everything turned out this year. Making the finals and putting down a run is all I could ask for. It was a really good day.”

Teammates Lucas Foster gave a respectable showing with two solid runs landing him sixth, while Taylor Gold was seventh. 

Women's Snowboard Halfpipe
Men's Snowboard Halfpipe

All times EST

Monday, March 22
3:30 p.m. Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix Freeski Slopestyle - delayed broadcast, Aspen, Colo., Broadcast NBCSN
5:00 p.m. Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix Snowboard Slopestyle - delayed broadcast, Aspen, Colo., Broadcast NBCSN

Tuesday, March 23
3:00 p.m. Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix Freeski Halfpipe - delayed broadcast, Aspen, Colo., Broadcast NBCSN
4:30 p.m. Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix Snowboard Halfpipe - delayed broadcast, Aspen, Colo., Broadcast NBCSN


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