2020-21 U.S. Snowboard Team Season Highlights
The calendar was uncertain coming into the 2020-21 winter competition season as the pandemic took its toll. Athletes trained in unique ways with backyard set-ups and home gyms. Their approach was different but effective. The U.S. Snowboard Team collected 15 podiums across six elite-level park and pipe events. Snowboardcross athletes took home eight podiums across five events and earned the FIS Snowboardross Nations Cup. Their creativity and resilience paid off.
Chloe Kim led the way for the U.S. Snowboard Team after returning to competition from a 22-month hiatus while she attended Princeton University. Kim put together a podium perfect season, winning every contest she entered including the 2021 Laax Open in Switzerland, X Games Aspen 2021, the Aspen Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix Olympic tryout event, and the Aspen 2021 World Championships.
What’s particularly impressive is Kim won each event without pulling out her most difficult tricks, including the famed back-to-back 1080s or the frontside double cork 1080 she landed while training in Saas Fee’s Stomping Grounds Park in Switzerland. Despite not throwing her most difficult tricks, Kim worked on her variety, mixing up the arrangement of her run and adding new tricks like the crowd favorite switch method.
Right on Kim’s heels was teammate Maddie Mastro who graced the X Games Aspen and World Championship podiums earning silver medals at each. Mastro, who has historically struggled to land her signature double crippler in the Buttermilk superpipe in Aspen, Colo., found redemption at the World Championships in the same pipe, stomping it alongside a beautiful frontside 900 to secure her podium position. Mastro and Kim are the two of the best women’s snowboard halfpipe athletes in the world right now and should be forces to be reckoned with come the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
For the halfpipe men, highlights included three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White making his return to the competition scene for the first time since the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, finishing fourth as the top American at the Aspen U.S. Grand Prix. U.S. Snowboard Teammates Chase Blackwell, Taylor Gold, and Lucas Foster all put together a solid string of results, each finishing in the top ten of the FIS Cup Standings.
In slopestyle, Jamie Anderson continued her reign as the queen of competitive snowboarding. Anderson earned her fifth Laax Open title, her 18th and 19th X Games medals (both gold), as well as a World Championships silver medal in slopestyle. Langland joined Anderson’s podium party at the Aspen U.S. Grand Prix Olympic tryout event taking second-place and putting her in a good position moving into the rest of the qualifying process.
For the men, 18-year-old Dusty Henricksen was on a mission to prove that his breakthrough season last year was no fluke. He did so in classic “Dusty” fashion with a T-shirt, baggy jeans reminiscent of the ’90s, and a huge smile on his face. Dusty started his tear at X Games Aspen 2021 where, as a rookie, he won knucklehuck gold and broke a 12-year American men’s slopestyle X Games gold medal drought during the final day of competition. The last time an American man won the event was Shaun White in 2009.
2018 Olympic gold medalist Red Gerard and seven-time Crystal Globe winner Chris Corning each finished their seasons strong. Gerard secured a silver medal at the Aspen U.S. Grand Prix slopestyle Olympic tryout event and Corning earned third-place at the World Cup slopestyle finals in Silvaplana, Switzerland. Henricksen, Gerard, Corning, and Brock Crouch finished fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth respectively in the FIS Slopestyle Cup Standings.
The U.S. Snowboardcross Team displayed incredible depth, consistency, and comradery earning eight podiums and the Nations Cup. Four U.S. Team athletes claimed top-three finishes including Faye Gulini, who finished her season third in the FIS Cup Standings. She earned back-to-back second-place finishes at the season-opening double race program in Valmalenco, Italy and claimed third-place in Bakuriani, Georgia. Also collecting podiums for the women was the winningest snowboardcross rider of all time, Lindsey Jacobellis. She earned her 54th and 55th World Cup podiums and had her 100th World Cup start at the finals in Veysonnaz, Switzerland.
For the men, 2019 Double World Champion Mick Dierdorff and Olympian Hagen Kearney found their way to the podium. Kearney earned third place on the season opener in Valmalenco and second place in Veysonnaz to cap off the season. Mick found his success at the heart of the season in Retieralm, Austria, where he took third.
U.S. Snowboardcross Head coach Peter Foley summed up this season-best in an interview following the World Cup Finals, “This team thrived through adversity, and I’m especially proud that they were able to win the Nations Cup during such a tough year”
Relive all the top moments of the year below!
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Kim Wins Laax Open
Kim Defends World Title
Kim Wins Grand Prix
Mastro Silver at World Champs
Anderson Wins Laax Open
Gerard 2nd at Grand Prix
Langland 2nd at Grand Prix
Corning 3rd at Silvaplana
Anderson Silver at World Champs
Gulini 2nd at Valmalenco
Gulini 2nd at Valmalenco
Kearney 3rd at Valmalenco
Jacobellis 2nd & Dierdorff 3rd at Reiteralm
Gulini 3rd at Bakuriani
Jacobellis 100th World Cup Start
Kearney 2nd at Veysonnaz