By Zach Cavanagh
San Clemente’s Hailey Langland will be on her way to her second Winter Olympics next month in Beijing, China.
Langland, 21, was one of two athletes named to the United States women’s snowboarding big air and slopestyle team following the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain on Jan. 9, along with 31-year-old Jamie Anderson of South Lake Tahoe, California.
The Grand Prix was the last of the four designated Olympic slopestyle and big air tryout events for this cycle, including three in the 2021-22 season and one in the 2020-21 season. Langland finished in fifth place in Mammoth with 71.02 points, and Anderson, the back-to-back Olympic gold medalist in women’s slopestyle, won her first slopestyle event of the year with a 86.32 score.
While not a flat-out automatic selection in the qualifying process like Anderson as a top-six-ranked snowboarder, Langland hit all the other minimum qualifying criteria and was the easy pick as the second-highest ranked American in the World Snowboarding Points List. Anderson is No. 2 in the world in slopestyle with 934.83 points, and Langland is No. 9 with 664.66 points.
The full U.S. ski and snowboarding team will be announced by Wednesday, Jan. 21.
The 2022 Winter Olympics begin on Feb. 2 in Beijing with the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 4. Snowboarding, including women’s slopestyle, begins on Feb. 5.
Langland returns to the Winter Olympics after her first run through as a 17-year-old at the 2018 PyeongChang Games in South Korea. At those Olympics, Langland finished sixth in the women’s slopestyle finals and 14th in the women’s big air qualifying. It was the first-ever women’s big air Olympic competition.
All slopestyle snowboarders also qualify for the big air events for the Olympics.
Langland likely punched her ticket to Beijing early back in the only tryout event of the 2020-21 season. Langland finished second in slopestyle at the Land Rover U.S. Grand Prix in Aspen, Colorado on March 21, 2021. Langland was the top American finisher and earned a necessary top-three tryout result for the qualification process.
Langland again was the top American finisher at the next tryout event and the kick-off of the 2021-22 tryout season. Langland finished fourth at the VISA Big Air in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on Dec. 4, 2021.
Langland finished well behind the pack at the next tryout event in the Dew Tour at Copper Mountain, Colorado on Dec. 18, 2021. She finished 12th in the slopestyle final.
However, Langland bounced back for a strong performance at Mammoth on Jan. 8, and with plenty of rankings points already in her back pocket, the 21-year-old from San Clemente earned her return trip to the Winter Olympics.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.