Head to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area the first week in February to see top athletes go head-to-head at the four-day U.S. Snowboarding and Freeskiing Grand Prix. The spectator-friendly halfpipe and slopestyle competition carries a lot more than just its $400,000 prize purse—it will also serve as the first qualifying event for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2018 U.S. Olympic Snowboarding Team will be named shortly after.
“Even when it is not an Olympic year, athletes are fighting for position in its rankings to stay relevant for the years to come,” says Mammoth Mountain’s Lauren Burke. “Spectators will see athletes they recognize as Olympians as well as future Olympians. From Shaun White to Sage Kotsenburg to Gus Kenworthy, the Mammoth Grand Prix showcases the best of the best in the freeskiing and snowboarding world.”
Spectators can get an up-close view of the shredding from multiple vantage points around the competition, which will take place in the Unbound Terrain Parks’ Main Park and 22-foot Halfpipe. If you want to ski or snowboard during the event, cheer from the resort’s popular Broadway run, adjacent to the course. You can also view tricks from the base of the Super Duper Pipe (there will be snow stairs), or head to the Main Lodge sundeck, where you can watch the action with a hot chocolate or beer in hand.
Expect to spot Mammoth Team athletes Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim, Greg Bretz, Brandon Davis, and others, as they take on the difficult course designed specifically for this event. “Mammoth pushes the bar every year by constructing behemoth jumps and rail options that have creativity, quality, and innovation you won’t see anywhere else,” Burke says. “The athletes work closely with the Unbound Terrain Park crew to craft the best competition venue in the world and you’ll often see some of the biggest and most impressive tricks of the season.”
Outside of the competition, the event will also bring big-name sponsors to the vendor village—in front of the Main Lodge between Broadway Express and Unbound Express—from Feb. 3–4. Expect swag giveaways, athlete signings, and an after-party on Feb. 4 with live music. For real-time action shots from the event, follow Mammoth’s social posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (“MammothMountain”) for updates.