The halfpipe World Cup season is about to conclude with the fourth and final event staged at the official Olympic test event for PyeongChang 2018. Halfpipe riders are the last specialists to visit the Bokwang Phoenix Park, South Korea, host of the snowboard events of next year's Olympic Winter Games, wrapping up their World Cup season from February 17 to 19, 2017.
And with anticipation high ahead of the grand finale, all eyes are on teenage shred wonder Chloe Kim who is looking safe to secure her career's first Crystal Globe.
After tree of four halfpipe comps in the books, the 16-year-old goofy rider who kicked off the season with back-to-back wins in Copper Mountain (USA) and Laax (SUI), is sitting in first position with 2,500 points having a comfortable lead of 800 points over Jiyau Liu (CHN, 1,700) who is the only theoretical threat to Kim in the race for the World Cup title.
While things look all set in the women's competition, the men's contest provides some more thrill with quite a few riders able to lock in the title.
However, Chase Josey (USA) is entering the season's last halfpipe competition with the best hand.
The winner of the 2017 LAAX OPEN has 1,960 points in his bag already with reigning world champion and X Games gold medallist Scotty James (AUS) being his strongest pursuer with 1,700 points.
In addition, Swiss power horses Iouri Podladtchikov (1,400) and Patrick Burgener (1,320) are also keen to throw their hats in the ring while US superstar Shaun White (1,130) underlined that he is back to business by winning the Mammoth Mountain (USA) contest earlier this month.
In a TV show he attended lately, White said about the contest weekend in the Bokwang Phoenix Park Resort: “It's a dry run, a full test run of what it's gonna be like, what the halfpipe build is gonna be like, at what time of the day is the sun shining through, and which wall is sunny, which wall is not, what the snow conditions are like, everything. We do a full-on event.”
His teammates Gregory Bretz (1,080), Louie Vito (1,050) and Ryan Wachendorfer (980) are also still in the game but have to have a perfect day in South Korea to claim the coveted title and Crystal Globe.