Snowboarding 101: Qualifying for the 2018 Olympic Games

Snowboard cross podium at Sochi Olympics

There will be a maximum total of 258 snowboarders (142 male, 116 female) competing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Each event has a maximum number of competitors that may participate. Big air and slopestyle are calculated as one event.

Halfpipe: 30 male, 24 female athletes
Slopestyle/big air: 40 male, 30 female athletes
Snowboard cross: 40 male, 30 female athletes
Parallel giant slalom: 32 male, 32 female athletes

Each nation can send up to 26 snowboarders, with a maximum of 14 males or 14 females. A nation may have no more than four athletes compete in any one event. All participating athletes must have been born before January 1, 2003.

The qualification period officially lasts from July 1, 2016 through January 21, 2018.

Olympic quota spots are awarded to countries, rather than athletes. The FIS points list from the qualification period will be the basis for determining which nations are allocated an Olympic quota spot. South Korea, the Olympic host country, will be automatically granted one quota place in each event.

Countries that earn quota spots may then decide which athletes to allocate those spots to. Athletes are eligible to be selected by their country’s Olympic team if they have fulfilled both of the following criteria during the qualification period:

  • Placed in the top 30 at an FIS World Cup event or at the 2017 FIS World Championships in their respective discipline (in the case of big air, placing in the top 30 of a slopestyle contest would suffice)
  • Scored a minimum amount of FIS points (100 FIS points for snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom; 50 FIS points for halfpipe and slopestyle; big air entrants must have obtained 50 FIS points in either big air or slopestyle)

Team USA

A series of selection events for the U.S. Olympic snowboarding team will be held leading up to the 2018 Winter Games. The objective criteria differs slightly by discipline.

Halfpipe/slopestyle
In order to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team via the objective criteria, athletes will need to have at least one podium (top-three) finish against the competition field in the selection events. If three or fewer athletes meet that criteria, those athletes will automatically be named to the Olympic team.

If four or more athletes have at least one podium finish, then those athletes will be assigned ranking points based on their two best results from the selection events. When compiling this list, results from international competitors will be excluded. So no matter what their actual overall finish was in the contest, the highest-placing American in that contest will receive 1000 points toward the ranking list, the next-best American will get 800, and so on. A breakdown of points, based on the FIS allocation system, is below.

1st place: 1000 points
2nd place: 800 points
3rd place: 600 points
4th place: 500 points
5th place: 450 points
6th place: 400 points
7th place: 360 points
8th place: 320 points
9th place: 290 points
10th place: 260 points

Based on this ranking list, the top three athletes will be named to the Olympic team. Should a tie exist, there are tiebreaking procedures that would go into effect.

Remaining quota spots are filled based on the discretion of the coaching staff. This often allows for athletes who were injured during the selection events to make the Olympic team.

Below are the dates of the selection events:

Feb. 5, 2017 — Mammoth Grand Prix (slopestyle)
Dec. 7-9, 2017 — Copper Grand Prix (halfpipe)
Dec. 15-16, 2017 — Breckenridge Dew Tour (both)
Jan. 10-13, 2018 — Aspen Grand Prix (both)
Jan. 17-20, 2018 — Mammoth Grand Prix (both)

Big air
The top three athletes nominated to the men’s and women’s slopestyle teams will be assured of a start in big air. Remaining spots will be filled at the discretion of the coaching staff.

Snowboard cross
In order to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team via the objective criteria, athletes will need to have at least one podium (top-three) finish in the selection events. If three or fewer athletes meet that criteria, those athletes will automatically be named to the Olympic team.

If four or more athletes have at least one podium finish, then tiebreaking procedures go into effect to decide the three athletes named to the team:

  • Best result during selection events
  • Second-best result during selection events
  • Highest ranking on FIS Points List

Remaining quota spots are filled based on the discretion of the coaching staff.

Parallel giant slalom
In order to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team via the objective criteria, athletes will need to have at least one podium (top-three) finish in the selection events. If just one athlete meets that criteria, that athlete will automatically be named to the Olympic team.

If two or more athletes have at least one podium finish, then tiebreaking procedures go into effect to decide the one athlete named to the team:

  • Best result during selection events
  • Second-best result during selection events
  • Highest ranking on World Cup Points List

Remaining quota spots are filled based on the discretion of the coaching staff.

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