Toyota U.S. Grand Prix, Visa Big Air Are Olympic Qualifying Events
By U.S. Ski & Snowboard September 20, 2021
U.S. Ski & Snowboard today announced three U.S. Olympic freeski and snowboard qualifying stops for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022: the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix series and the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota.
The world’s best freeskiers and snowboarders will compete in halfpipe and slopestyle at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix events at Copper Mountain in Colorado and Mammoth Mountain in California, and big air at the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota at Colorado’s Steamboat Ski Resort. The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix is the longest-running winter action sports tour and has served as a major part of the U.S. Freeski Team and U.S. Snowboard Team Olympic qualification series since 1998, launching Olympic medalists including Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson, Red Gerard, Shaun White, David Wise and Nick Goepper toward medals. The Visa Big Air and Toyota U.S. Grand Prix events are sanctioned by the International Ski Federation (FIS) as World Cups.
“The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix has been the beacon of Olympic qualification fervor for more than two decades, and we are thrilled to bring this series back to Copper and Mammoth’s amazing terrain,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Freeski & Snowboard Director Jeremy Forster. “Those two resorts combined with the Olympic history and top-notch facilities at Steamboat Ski Resort for the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota will make for an outstanding Olympic qualifying process. We can’t wait to announce the athletes who will represent Team USA in Beijing this winter.”
Steamboat Ski Resort, a longtime U.S. Ski & Snowboard partner with a storied Olympic history, will host the first qualifying event of the season: the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota December 3-4, 2021. It will be the first and only big air qualifying event for the 2022 Olympics as snowboard big air makes its second Olympic appearance and freeski big air makes its Olympic debut.
Next, the world’s best skiers and riders kick off the halfpipe season at the first Toyota U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain’s 22-foot Superpipe December 8-11, 2021. Copper is proving its rebrand as the “athlete’s mountain,” as it readies to host the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix and the Dew Tour in December.
Finally, the skiers and riders descend upon Mammoth Mountain’s famed Unbound Terrain Park January 6-8, 2022 for halfpipe and slopestyle Toyota U.S. Grand Prix competitions. Mammoth has hosted previous Olympic qualifiers over the last two Olympic cycles and has named U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Olympic athletes three times: 1998—the first year the Olympics hosted snowboard halfpipe as an official event—and 2014 and 2018. While Mammoth was scheduled to host the first Olympic qualifying event of the 2022 Olympic cycle in early 2021, the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toyota is back as the title sponsor of the U.S. Grand Prix series. Toyota’s long-time commitment to ski and snowboard athletes is ubiquitous, having been the partner before and throughout the 2018 Olympic Games and has now renewed its partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard through 2025. The brand’s individual partnerships will also be shining with Olympic champions such as Chloe Kim and Red Gerard looking to punch their tickets back to the Games.
“We’re excited to partner once again with U.S. Ski & Snowboard for the U.S. Grand Prix series,” said Dedra DeLilli, group manager, sponsorship strategy, integration & activation, Toyota Motor North America. “With less than five months until the start of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, it’s an honor to be a part of the qualifying events that will help determine the elite athletes who will represent Team USA on the world’s biggest stage.”
Visa, the longest-standing partner of U.S. Ski & Snowboard of more than 30 years, is the title sponsor of the Visa Big Air and sponsors star athletes such as 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion David Wise. The company has been integral to big air making its Olympic debut in snowboarding in 2018 and will also be supporting the freeski side as freeski big air is unveiled as a new sport in the Beijing Olympics.
“Both Toyota and Visa have been vital partners to U.S. Ski & Snowboard for many years, and we’re thrilled to have these two brands support the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix and the Visa Big Air,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Chief Revenue Officer Michael O’Conor. “Both brands’ endorsements of individual athletes and the greater team has allowed for progression and development of the freeski and snowboarding talent as they step on the world’s stage in 2022.”
The first 2022 Winter Olympics qualification events took place at the 2021 U.S. Grand Prix slopestyle and halfpipe competitions at Colorado’s Aspen Snowmass in March. Additional Olympic selection events will be announced prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.
Specific event information will be forthcoming as the local organizing committee works through its detailed protocols with local and state health officials. The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix and Visa Big Air are contingent on local and state health department approvals based on existing and future COVID-19 rules and regulations. FIS, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the local organizing committees and all resort partners are taking a unified approach consistent with guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities.
2021-22 OLYMPIC QUALIFYING SCHEDULE
Visa Big Air presented by Toyota at Steamboat Resort, Colorado
Big Air, December 2-4, 2021
December 2, 2021- snowboard big air qualifications
December 3, 2021- freeski big air qualifications
December 4, 2021 – snowboard big air finals, freeski big air finals
Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado
Halfpipe, December 8-11, 2021
December 8, 2021 – freeski halfpipe qualifications
December 9, 2021 – snowboard halfpipe qualifications
December 10, 2021 – freeski halfpipe finals
December 11, 2021 – snowboard halfpipe finals
Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California
Halfpipe and slopestyle, January 6-8, 2022
January 6, 2022 – freeski halfpipe qualifications, snowboard slopestyle qualifications
January 7, 2022 – freeski halfpipe finals, freeski slopestyle qualifications, snowboard halfpipe qualifications
January 8, 2022 – freeski slopestyle finals, snowboard slopestyle finals, snowboard halfpipe finals
Rob Perlman, President & Chief Operating Officer, Steamboat Ski Resort
“Steamboat’s Olympic heritage runs deep and we’re excited to honor our longstanding partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard in hosting the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota event leading up to the 2022 Olympics. Producing Olympians is part of who we are, so this was a natural fit for Steamboat to kick off the qualifying event calendar ahead of the winter games.”
Dustin Lyman, President & General Manager, Copper Mountain
“We couldn’t be more excited to host back-to-back freeski and snowboard events at Copper Mountain, including the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix and Winter Dew Tour. Ski and snowboard athletes have a long history of making their mark on their respective sports at Copper, and as the Athlete’s Mountain, we can’t wait to welcome them back for world-class competition.”
Ron Cohen, President and Chief Operating Officer, Mammoth Mountain
“It is an honor to host another U.S. Olympic qualifying event here in Mammoth and we are extremely proud of all of the athletes on their road to Beijing. Mammoth has hosted over 10 U.S. Grand Prix events and have been fortunate enough to name our Olympic team here three times, including 1998, the first year halfpipe snowboarding was an official Olympic event. The excitement and pride in watching Olympic dreams become a reality is something we look forward to every four years. From elite competition to annual team training, we value our partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard and look forward to executing another world-class event together.
Freestyle Communications Manager