Red Gerard qualifies for first U.S. Olympic snowboard team


Red Gerard is heading to his first Olympics.

The 17-year-old won the snowboard slopestyle contest at the U.S. Grand Prix at Snowmass on Friday, an event that was the fourth of five qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic slopestyle and big air team.

Gerard also won the first qualifier, which was held last winter, and was able to secure his spot on the team for PyeongChang with his result at Snowmass.

For the second time this week, weather impacted the contest. Due to snowfall, the finals were delayed by about an hour, and the third and final jump had to be eliminated. Earlier this week, qualifiers were called after the first set of runs due to fog.

The change to the course left the riders with only two rails and two jumps, making each feature even more important.

Gerard certainly made his two jumps count, landing a switch backside 1260 and a backside triple cork 1440 in his second run. Those tricks earned two of the contest’s highest individual trick scores.

Japan’s Hiroaki Kunitake, the only other rider to land a triple cork in this contest, took second place and Tiarn Collins of New Zealand was third.

Sochi Olympian Ryan Stassel finished seventh and Chandler Hunt was eighth. No other Americans reached the men’s final.

Gerard, who grew up training in his backyard on a terrain park he and his family built, is the second rider to confirm his nomination to the Olympic team for men’s slopestyle and big air. He joins Chris Corning, who qualified for the team last month.

Up to four men will be named to the team. A third rider will automatically qualify for the team after next week’s final selection event at Mammoth, and a fourth rider will likely be named to the team as a discretionary pick shortly thereafter.

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