As the 2018 Olympics draw closer and the world's best snowboarders unpack their bags in PyeongChang, you may be wondering who the big names are to look out for. The Olympics is an opportunity for all athletes at the top of their game to step up to the world stage, and here are the current front runners…

Half-Pipe

Representing the USA is half-pipe superstar, Chloe Kim. Having risen quickly through the ranks, she is now FIS number one in half-pipe, riding high with a nice collection of gold medals from the Dew Tour and X Games already this season. Kim is the only athlete in X Games history to earn three gold medals before the age of 16 and this Olympics will be her first, where she will compete in her parents’ native country. Also representing the USA is Arielle Gold who also reached the podium in the Dew Tour and X Games, winning bronze and silver respectively.

In the men’s competitions, Japan is looking strong with world number one and two, Yuto Totsuka and Ayumu Hirano sitting at the top of the leader board. Hirano, whose name loosely translates as ‘walk the dream,’ took gold in the recent X Games with back to back 1440s. He was the first ever Japanese athlete to win an X Games winter event, taking superpipe gold in Oslo 2016. Other top contenders for the podium include USA’s Ben Ferguson and Australia’s Scotty James who took silver and gold respectively in both the Dew Tour and X Games contests. Of course you’ll need to watch out for ‘flying tomato’ Shaun White, who qualified with a perfect score of 100 at the US Grand Prix. Will the sport’s most iconic athlete take a home a third consecutive Olympic gold from PyeongChang?

Shaun White scores a perfect 100

  

Big Air and Slopestyle 

Keep your eyes peeled for Anna Gasser in the Big Air competition. The Austrian world number one took gold in the X Games, throwing down a cab 1080 double cork among other tricks. On our side of the pond, Yorkshire’s Katie Ormerod will enter her first Olympics in a strong position as FIS ranked world number two overall. She is known for her impressive form in Slopestyle but there are also high hopes for her in Big Air since she has reached the podium five times in ten World Cup competitions. UPDATE: Katie sadly won't be competing due to a fractured heel. Full story here

The UK’s Aimee Fuller has also achieved two career top tens in Big Air and was part of the same competition as Jenny Jones, who won bronze in Sochi 2014. Hopefully her Olympic experience will stand her in good stead this time around. Other big names in female freestyle include world number three Klaudia Medlova of Slovakia, and USA’s Jamie Anderson, who took home gold in Sochi as the first ever women’s Olympic Slopestyle medallist.

Ski Club talks to Aimee Fuller

  

On the men’s side, Max Parrot is one to watch after he took gold in the Dew Tour for Slopestyle and another gold in the X Games Big Air. The Canadian is currently world number two in the FIS Big Air ranking. Also tipped for big things is Norway’s Marcus Kleveland. Rated world number two in Slopestyle, he took home silver in the X Games Big Air and gold in Slopestyle.

The British Park and pipe squad have a few strong male contenders in the form of Billy Morgan and Jamie Nicholls who will be attending their second Olympics, having achieved tenth and seventh respectively in Slopestyle in Sochi. Since then, Morgan has reached the World Cup podium twice and achieved a world first by landing a 1800 quadruple cork. Nicholls managed to achieve three World Cup Slopestyle podiums since the last games.

Joining them will be new kid on the block, Rowan Coultas, a rising star who earned his first World Cup top 10 at the age of 18.

Marcus Kleveland wins Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle gold

  

Snowboard Cross and Giant Slalom 

In Snowboard Cross (SBX) France has two athletes at the front of the pack with world number two and three, Chloe Trespeuch and Nelly Moenne Loccoz, who follow Italy’s Michaela Moioli, current world number one. In the male category, France is also looking strong with Pierre Vaultier sitting in the number one spot, followed by Alex Pullin of Australia and Switzerland's Alessandro Häemmerle. 

In the Giant Slalom Russia looks set to dominate with world number two and three, Ekaterina Tudegesheva and Natalia Soboleva on the women’s side and men’s number one and three Dmitry Loginov and Andrey Sobolev. Austria’s Sabine Schöffman is current world number one and sitting in a Russian sandwich - on the male side is Roland Fischnaller of Italy.

On the British squad, Zoe Gillings-Brier is no stranger to the Olympics – this will be her fourth! With seven SBX World Cup medals, she has earned her stripes and will be keen to give the top athletes a run for their money in Pyeongchang, having reached the top ten in her previous two Olympics.

Find out more about each athlete and discipline on our Olympic pages here.