Where: Phoenix Park
After: February 19-22
Favorites: Guys – Shaun White, U.S. (+200); Ayumu Hirano, Japan (+300); Yuto Totsuka, Japan (+350); Girls – Chloe Kim, U.S. (+170); Kelly Clark, U.S. (+450); Queralt Castellet, Spain (+450)
Phoenix Park will be the site of one of the most wildly popular events in the Olympics. Snowboard half-pipe has come a long way since being only an X-Games fixture and this season’s version features the ultimate redemption story, with Shaun White looking to rebound from a stunning fourth-place finish at the 2014 Olympic competition in Russia.
White is a little favorite despite having to overcome a number of obstacles, such as his disappointing showing in Sochi along with a training accident in New Zealand back in October he left with over 60 stitches in his face. Hirano is expected to be his main competitor. Silver was won by the 19 year old in Sochi. 16, totsuka, has four podium finishes in four different contests this year.
Kim is America’s next snowboarding superstar. The 17 year old is a four-time X-Games SuperPipe champion and has no equivalent on the half-pipe. Clark is tabbed as Kim’s biggest hurdle to gold. The 34 year old is a three-time Olympic medalist and placed third in Sochi. Castellet has and third-place finishes this year, but is considered a long shot to battle Kim.