US Snowboarding named its 2013 Slopestyle and Halfpipe teams at Copper Mountain, Colorado on Saturday. The announcement comes at the start of a critical season for riders hoping to make the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Being part of the team means riders have access to the USSA’s Center of Excellence training facility in Salt Lake City, plus coaches and physiotherapists. However, the team still has to qualify in FIS events along with all the other Olympic hopefuls between now and January 19, 2014, the cut off for earning points.

The 2013 US Snowboarding Slopestyle and Halfpipe Pro Teams. PHOTO: Courtesy US Snowboarding

“The US Team has been a huge support and a contributor to the success of my snowboard career over the years” said Vancouver 2010 Olympic halfpipe bronze medalist Kelly Clark. “I am excited to be named to the team again, and am looking forward to this next season.”

“Snowboarding is about having fun and being on the team brings a whole new element of fun for me,” says Eric Willett, who made the Slopestyle team. “It's great to have teammates who are also your friends to ride with all the time and they push you to progress in competition too. Stoked for another season with coach Bill!”

The team’s competition season starts with the Dew Tour at Breckenridge December 13-16 and was supposed to be followed by the pipe-only US Grand Prix in Park City, Utah from December 21-23  but the event was bumped to February 1-2 over concerns of the quality of the pipe. Now the Grand Prix at Copper, which makes its debut as a FIS World Cup and 5Star World Snowboard Tour event on January 9-11, will be a big chance for pipe and slopestyle riders to earn points towards Olympic qualification.

Contests leading up the cut off for qualifying are crucial because if the US has four men and four women in the top 40 men and top 30 women in halfpipe or the top 30 men and 24women in slopestyle, then they could potentially start up to four men and four women in each discipline. The more spots filled, the greater the chance for a medal.

Here’s who’s on the team.

* Previous Olympian

2013 US Snowboarding Halfpipe Pro Team
Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA) 12/19/90 *
Matt Ladley (Chicago, IL) 5/17/91
Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) 11/12/87 *
Benji Farrow (Ludlow, VT) 3/8/92
Louie Vito (Sandy, UT) 3/20/88 *
Luke Mitrani (Bondville, VT) 7/20/90

Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) 4/10/81 *
Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT) 7/26/83 *
Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) 8/17/89 *
Ellery Hollingsworth (Darien, CT) 9/2/91
Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) 1/27/87 *
Maddy Schaffrick (Steamboat Springs, CO) 4/24/94

2013 US Snowboarding Slopestyle Pro Team

Chas Guldemond (Reno, NV) 4/22/87
Sage Kotsenburg (Park City, UT) 7/27/93
Eric Willett(Breckenridge, CO) 1/2/88

Jessika Jenson (Rigby, ID) 8/7/91
Jordie Karlinski (Snowmass Village, CO) 8/24/89
Ty Walker (Stowe, VT) 3/3/97

2013 US Snowboarding Halfpipe Rookie Team

Taylor Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO) 11/17/93
Brett Esser (Dubuque, IA) 10/12/92
Ben Ferguson (Bend, OR) 1/21/95
Arielle Gold (Steamboat Springs, CO) 5/4/96
Kyle Mack(West Bloomfield, MI) 7/6/97
Serena Shaw (Stratton Mountain, VT) 1/22/95
Spencer Shaw (Stratton Mountain, VT) 1/29/93
Gabe Ferguson (Bend, OR) 4/16/99

Mike Jankowski, US Freeskiing and US Snowboarding Head Coach
Rick Bower, US Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach
Tommy Czeschin, US Snowboarding Assistant Halfpipe Coach
Bill Enos, US Snowboarding Slopestyle Coach
Spencer Tamblyn, US Snowboarding National Development Coach