Copper Mountain hosting Olympic qualifying event - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Copper Mountain hosting Olympic qualifying event

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For many winter Olympians, the path to the games PyeongChang, South Korea starts in Colorado.

The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix got underway Wednesday at Copper Mountain, with halfpipe freeskiers competing for a spot on Olympic teams and a trip to South Korea.

The competition was fun for many to watch, with big air and impressive maneuvers on display for free.

For Copper Mountain, it was not an easy task to get the halfpipe ready for competition with a lack of natural snow and warmer than usual temperatures over the past few weeks.

However, flurries were flying Wednesday with temperatures falling as the day went along.

"Three four days ago it was flat. (The) snow making team here at Copper did an awesome job getting a lot of product down for us," said Noah Schwander, the terrain manager at Copper Mountain.

Getting the terrain ready for Olympic level competition is no small task. It takes careful planning and preparation to get the course ready for Olympic hopefuls.

"The goal is to safely put the athletes in the air, the way they live to be put so they can do the tricks they want to do," Schwander said.

The events got started Wednesday, but there are more events scheduled through Sunday.

  • December 7: Halfpipe snowboarding qualification
  • December 8: Halfpipe skiing finals; big air snowboarding qualification
  • December 9: Halfpipe snowboarding finals
  • December 10: Big air snowboarding finals

It's free to watch for spectators. There will also be live music and other events scheduled.

CLICK HERE for more information about Copper's event schedule.

Copper's qualification events are just one in a series of competitions to compete on the sport's largest stage. Olympic hopefuls will also compete at Aspen Snowmass in January. 

  • January 10: Halfpipe skiing and slopestyle snowboarding qualification
  • January 11: Slopestyle skiing and halfpipe snowboarding qualification
  • January 12: Halfpipe skiing and slopestyle snowboarding finals
  • January 13: Slopestyle skiing and halfpipe snowboarding finals
  • January 14: Slopestyle skiing qualification and finals

It will be the first time in 20 years that Snowmass will host an Olympic qualifier.

CLICK HERE for more information about that event.

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