When it comes to slopestyle and big air snowboarding, Canada is one of the first countries that should come to mind.
For most of the current decade, Canadian riders have been historically strong in these two events, and the country has produced a deep pool of Olympic-caliber talent. So, with nations only allowed to send a maximum of four men and four women to PyeongChang in these disciplines, the team’s Olympic selection process has been closely followed.
On Tuesday, Canada Snowboard announced the official team, which will comprise four men and three women. All athletes selected will compete in both slopestyle and big air at the Winter Olympics.
Mark McMorris and Max Parrot, who were already pre-qualified for the team at the conclusion of last season, will give Canada arguably the strongest 1-2 punch of any nation. The duo has combined to win 10 slopestyle medals and 12 big air medals at X Games and will be considered medal contenders in both events for the PyeongChang Olympics.
Both riders be looking to improve on their results from the 2014 Winter Games, where McMorris finished third and Parrot took fifth in slopestyle.
Last season, Parrot won big air gold at X Games Aspen after landing the first-ever quad underflip. McMorris had a successful season as well, winning the World Snowboard Tour’s slopestyle title, but was injured in a terrifying backcountry accident last March. He has since returned to the competition circuit and is looking to put that crash behind him as he makes his comeback.
The newest official additions to the team are Sebastien Toutant, who was ninth at the Sochi Olympics, and Tyler Nicholson, a first-time Olympian. Toutant owns a total of six X Games slopestyle medals, while Nicholson earned his first medal, a silver, at the event in 2017.
The women’s team is led by Spencer O’Brien, a five-time X Games medalist. She’s been one of the top riders in women’s snowboarding for the last decade and, fresh off a recent victory at Dew Tour, is considered a medal contender in slopestyle.
Joining her are first-time Olympians Laurie Blouin and Brooke Voigt. Blouin is one of about a handful of women to have landed a cab double underflip, one of the most progressive tricks in women’s slopestyle and big air snowboarding right now, in a competition and could be someone under the radar to keep an eye on in PyeongChang.
The U.S. will name its full slopestyle and big air team after the conclusion of next weekend’s final Olympic qualifier. So far, two riders – Chris Corning and Jamie Anderson – have mathematically confirmed their nominations onto the team, and more athletes could be set to join them after this week’s qualifier in Aspen, Colo.