SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 20:  Maddie Bowman of the United States celebrates winning the gold medal in the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Ski Halfpipe Finals with David Wise, gold medal winner in the Men's Ski Halfpipe on day thirteen of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth broadcast schedule; first Olympic qualifier

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Shaun White and Chloe Kim, plus freeskiers and snowboarders seeking Olympic berths, take flight at the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app starting Saturday.

White, a two-time Olympic champion, and Kim, a 16-year-old who already owns two X Games titles, head the halfpipe snowboarding fields at Mammoth. They’re looking to bounce back after being upset at the X Games last week.

White takes on a field including U.S. Olympic teammates Greg BretzTaylor Gold and Louie Vito, plus X Games winner Scotty James of Australia.

Kim will face a more daunting challenge in Olympic champions Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter and Sochi Olympian Arielle Gold.

While White and Kim build toward next season, Mammoth marks the first of five Olympic qualifiers for ski and snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe.

That means U.S. Olympic champions Jamie AndersonMaddie BowmanJoss Christensen and David Wise open their quests to qualify for PyeongChang this week. Sage Kotsenburg, the surprise first Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is sitting out Mammoth as he decides whether he wants to make a run for PyeongChang.

Olympic qualifying in those three disciplines consists of five events for ski halfpipe and slopestyle and four events for snowboard slopestyle. The remaining events will be next season.

Each athlete’s top two results across qualifying will determine standings from which three athletes per gender per event can be named to the PyeongChang team. More athletes can be added based on discretionary selection by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association next January.

MORE: Shaun White impressed by Chloe Kim

U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Schedule
Friday
Ski Halfpipe, 12:30-2:30 p.m. ET — LIVE STREAM POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER
Snowboard Slopestyle, 4-5:30 p.m. ET — LIVE STREAM POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER

Saturday
Ski Halfpipe — 12:15-1:55 p.m. ET — LIVE STREAM
Snowboard Slopestyle — 4:30-6:15 p.m. ET — LIVE STREAM
NBC broadcast — 4:30-6 p.m. ET

Sunday
Snowboard Halfpipe — 12:30-2 p.m. ET — LIVE STREAM
Ski Slopestyle — 5:15-7 p.m. ET — LIVE STREAM
NBC broadcast — 3-4 p.m. ET

Sildaru exudes ‘madness and grace’ in X Games ski slopestyle for gold

TIGNES, FRANCE - MARCH 19: Kelly Sildaru of Estonia competes during the Slopestyle ski training sessions during day two of Winter X Games Europe 2013 on March 19, 2013 in Tignes, France.  (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images)
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In 2016, at just 13, Kelly Sildaru walked off with her very first X Games gold, and the record as the youngest Winter X Games medalist ever. One year later, Estonia’s slopestyle star was back breaking more records in Aspen.

Already pocketing X Games big air silver on Saturday night, Sildaru put up a leaderboard-topping 92.33 in her first run in women’s ski slopestyle on Sunday, followed by Tess Ledeux of France and Giulia Tanno of Switzerland.

The solid scoring of the first round would not carry over into the second set, however, with the field unable to land a run to unseat the Estonian. Tess Ledeux hung on to win silver, while Norway’s Johanne Killi improved upon her first run to jump over Tanno to take the bronze.

Fellow Estonian and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end, Margus Hunt even showed his support for his fellow countrywoman on Twitter as he watched from home.

For Sildaru, she leaves Aspen with two medals – gold in women’s ski slopestyle and silver in big air. If that were not enough, she also became the first X Games athlete to win two golds before turning 15-years-old when she successfully defended her 2016 slopestyle title.

Next February, on Day 9 of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, Sildaru will celebrate her 16th birthday, and if the X Games are any indication, the party should be super sweet.

Later on the mountain, three M’s lead the men’s X Games snowboard slopestyle final going into the final run. Norway’s Marcus Kleveland and two Canadians – favorite Mark McMorris and X Games vet Max Parrot. Despite heavy movement in the silver and bronze medal positions, no one could come close to the Norwegian on Sunday.

The 17-year-old Kleveland unseated Canada’s Mark McMorris, the defending X Games snowboard slopestyle champ and 2014 Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist, to win his first X Games gold. Looking for a storybook ending in his final run, McMorris landed his second jump clean, but switched the direction of his approach going into his final trick – likely invisible to the unknowing eye. The adjustment was enough of a misstep for the judges to deduct points, costing him a shot at gold.

Tyler Nicholson of Canada crashed the podium on his second run, knocking Norway’s Stale Sandbech down a peg to third, barely allowing Sandbech enough time to catch his breath after he had just landed in silver position on his own follow-up run.

Unfortunately for Sandbech, McMorris’ first run score was a couple points better, keeping the four-time X Games snowboard slopestyle gold medalist on the 2017 podium for bronze.

In addition to his slopestyle gold, Kleveland won silver under the lights on Friday night in the men’s snowboard big air event, landing an off-axis quadruple cork – a first in X Games history.

Elena Hight wins her first X Games gold medal

COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO - DECEMBER 16:  Elena Hight reacts to her score in the final round of the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2017  Ladies' Snowboard Halfpipe during The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on December 16, 2016 in Copper Mountain, Colorado.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Elena Hight has been a mainstay on the Winter X Games circuit, collecting three silver medals and two bronze medals since making her debut at just 13 years old in 2003.

14 years later, she finally won her first gold medal in the women’s snowboard halfpipe final Saturday night in Aspen, Colo.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Hight said, shaking her head.

China’s Xeutong Cai finished second, followed by American Chloe Kim.

Kim entered as the pre-race favorite, having not lost on the halfpipe in over a year. But the 16-year-old fell early in her first run, just moments after competition was interrupted for about 10 minutes when half of the course’s floodlights shut off. Television commentators described her second and final run as “probably the tamest run we have ever seen from Chloe in an X Games.”

It was the first time that Kim, who was too young to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics, failed to win a gold medal in her four X Games starts.

Earlier on Saturday, 19-year-old American Julia Marino claimed the women’s snowboard slopestyle gold medal. She became the first X Games rookie since 2000 to win two medals, after earning the snowboard big air bronze medal on Thursday.

“I don’t think I could ask for a better contest,” Marino said.

Marino bested fellow American Jamie Anderson, the 2014 Olympic champion and most decorated rider in X Games slopestyle history with 12 medals. Great Britain’s Katie Ormerod finished third.

Americans swept the men’s ski slopestyle podium at the Sochi Games, where the event was making its Olympic debut. But it was McRae Williams, after not even making the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, who stood on the podium in Aspen.

Williams earned the silver medal, behind Norway’s Oystein Braaten and ahead of Canada’s Alex Beaulieu-Marchand.

Braaten wiped out on his first run, scoring 8.66 points, the lowest of the 12 skiers in the finals. But the winner was determined based on a skier’s best score in either of the two final runs, and Braaten responded with a score of 94.33 points on his second run.

“I was so scared after my first run because I messed up a trick I’ve been landing all week,” Braaten admitted.

2014 Olympic champion Joss Christensen finished sixth, while 2014 Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy was 10th and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Nick Goepper was 11th. Goepper, who won gold at every X Games from 2013-2015, is the only skier with multiple wins in the event at the last 14 X Games.

Kenworthy was competing less than 15 hours after finishing 10th in the ski halfpipe final.

MORE: Aaron Blunck wins surprise gold in crash-filled ski halfpipe