In amongst Terje’s regular anti-Olympic rants about us cowardly hacks, he makes the (not unreasonable) point that, thanks to the way qualification works, the Games will never be able to feature all of the world’s best riders. Indeed, the 2018 iteration will be missing a few big names in all three disciplines.
It's not all about the competition structure, although that does play a large part. With a maximum of four slots per country, well-stacked national teams like Norway and the USA will be leaving folk at home that, on their day, could probably hit the podium. Meanwhile some lesser rider is there thanks to an easier road to hitting their quota.
“some stuck two fingers up at the five rings a long time ago, and were never going to be involved"
Injuries are a factor, too; some riders did everything they needed to do to book their ticket to Pyeongcheng, only to bust themselves in the build-up the main event, while others missed too many qualifiers to rack up the required points.
Then, of course, there are those who stuck two fingers up at the five rings a long time ago, and were never going to be involved. For some it’s down to a general apathy towards competition, while for others the specific nature of the Olympics is the turn-off.
We've no doubt that the standard of riding will be fully bonkers; there are the so-hot-right-now types like Rene Rikkangas, Hailey Langland and Sebbe De Buck, as well as returning medallists including Ayumu Hirano, Jamie Anderson and Stale Sandbech.
Still, despite the crazy strong field in each event, we wish these guys and girls were going to South Korea too.
We were never expecting the man who refers to the ‘Oldlimpdicks’ to be making an appearance; he’s doing just fine dropping insane video parts, winning rider polls and generally killing it.
Back when he was on the Big Air circuit, though, Halldor was always the best thing about any comp. His ‘first or last’ approach would have been fun to watch in Pyeongcheng - an attempt at a quad Lobster flip maybe? - and he’d have done it with shit drawn on his face before giving the judges a birdbath.
When it was clear he wouldn’t be competing, the sound of several simultaneously unpuckering bumholes in the IOC offices would have been quite a thing to behold.
"Back when he was on the Big Air circuit, Halldor was always the best thing about any comp"
It was a case of so-near-yet-so-far for Torstein in Sochi. He had been on strong form, but snapped his collarbone in practice after slamming on the top rail, and had to drop out of the slopestyle.
Since then his appearances at contests have been few and far between, and he recently made the inevitable announcement (via his YouTube channel) in October that he was done with competitive snowboarding altogether.
After winning halfpipe gold in 2010, Torah then went full Olympic-tard in 2014. As well as defending her pipe crown, she also qualified for slopestyle and boardercross.
She was narrowly pipped to second place in the ditch (see below), and didn’t bother the podium in the other two events, but we liked her style all the same. “It’s all snowboarding, it’s all fun" is how she put it at the time.
She’s not been seen at nearly as many contests since then, and in late January confirmed that she wouldn’t make it to what would have been her fourth appearance at the Games.
The jury’s still out on whether or not Kaitlyn Farrington’s gold-medal-winning pipe run really deserved the top spot over defending champ Torah Bright. That being said, even the Queen of Australia couldn’t begrudge her success - and at only 24 years of age, looked like she had a promising future ahead of her.
The discovery of a hereditary spine condition after a fall in Austria brought an immediate end to her competitive career, however. With the stunt ditch too big of a risk, she switched her focus to the backcountry and developed a new freeride pro model, the Gnu Klassy.
"We’ll miss Danny’s style, for sure, but more than that we’ll miss his candour"
Despite his haul of X-medals, and appearances at the last two Olympics, Danny Davis still doesn’t come across like a contest rider. For starters, he puts out more banger pow edits than the rest of the halfpipe field put together.
Spots on Team USA’s halfpipe roster are notoriously hard to get, with an insanely competitive field. This year it’s the turn of Jake Pates, Chase Josey, Ben Ferguson and Shaun White.
We’ll miss Danny’s style, for sure, but more than that we’ll miss his candour. If the pipe is in shit shape, like it was in Sochi, he’d say so. When the media inevitably make it all about Shaun, he’d call them out.
Sage's barnstorming run in 2014 (including a 1620 that he'd never landed before) made him the unlikeliest of Olympic champions - but a thoroughly deserving one.
With few exceptions he’s generally shunned the contest circuit since, but we can’t really blame him. He always rode like a guy who, given the chance, would just do exactly what he wanted - and the Sochi win gave him that chance.
Recently he appeared to piss all over the hand that fed him via a comment on Terje Haakonsen’s Instagram. “Soon to swallow skateboarding and surfing whole" was his take on the IOC.
It looks like he's since deleted it; we reached out for clarification, but haven't heard back. He’s probably away riding pow somewhere.
You can’t do anything about the weather, sadly.
Struggles with injuries kept New Zealand’s most stylish rider off the contest circuit for well over a year. She recovered just in time to mount a #lastminuteroadtopyeongchang offensive, with big results needed to make the cut.
December saw her bag a bronze at a World Cup Big Air in December, followed by a win at the Snowmass slopestyle event in January. With a decent result at the Laax Open, she’d be in. Unfortunately an unholy amount of snow meant that the contest got cancelled, and Christy had run out of luck.
Her last-minute addition to the X Games (under what criteria, we’re not sure) reminded us just how much snowboarding’s biggest platform will miss her.
"Yuki Kadono - the first guy to stick back-to-back 1620s, as well as that ridiculous quad cork 1980 - won’t be heading to Pyeongcheng"
Among the ranks of Team Japan, there’s one notable name that’s missing. Yuki Kadono - the first guy to stick back-to-back 1620s, as well as that ridiculous quad cork 1980 - won’t be heading to Pyeongcheng.
There’s been no official word yet, but we’re hearing through the rumour mill that he’s fallen foul of the Japanese Olympic committee’s notoriously strict behaviour policy while riding in California.
Remember Vancouver 2010, when they nearly booted the great Kazuhiro Kokubo off the team for having his shirt untucked? Yuki must have done something far, far worse - perhaps he stuck a ‘KICK ME’ sign on a liftie’s back...?