Jamie Anderson, 23, has been winning major slopestyle events since she was 16. Perhaps it was that championship experience that boosted her as she embarked on the final run in Breckenridge, Colo., on Friday.
Anderson captured the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships title with a 96-point score, landing a clutch backside 540 to overtake Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi, who posted 89.40 on the preceding run. Norway’s Silja Norendal was third.
“It gets nerve-racking, but it’s good for the heart, good for the soul, and I’m so grateful,” Anderson said. “I was so inspired up there watching the girls putting down these insanely technical runs. In this weather it’s definitely a little intimidating, but we sent it.”
Anderson, a four-time Winter X Games champion, fell on the first of her two runs and entered the final run in seventh place in the eight-woman final. Now she’s in the driver’s seat to book a spot on the first U.S. Olympic slopestyle snowboarding team.
Breckenridge marks the first of five stops in the Olympic trials process. The others are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo., Northstar, Calif., Park City, Utah, and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
The five events will determine Olympians in snowboard halfpipe and the new Olympic events of snowboard slopestyle and ski halfpipe and ski slopestyle. The Olympic rosters are expected to be announced Jan. 22.
The overall Olympic qualification standings will be determined by the two best results for an athlete over the five events. No more than four athletes can make the U.S. Olympic Team per event. It’s possible fewer than four will be named for some events.
Breckenridge Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
1. Jamie Anderson (USA) 96.00
2. Enni Rukajarvi (FIN) 89.40
3. Silja Norendal (NOR) 86.20
5. Jessika Jenson (USA) 64.00
6. Jordie Karlinski (USA) 59.20