Coloradans are showing out. Fresh off of last season’s Beijing Olympics, the world’s best halfpipe and big-air skiers and snowboarders descended on Copper Mountain last month for the 2022 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Halfpipe and Visa Big Air—and a handful of Centennial Staters impressed in the global competition.

For those unversed in the events, both Big Air and Halfpipe are judged. Athletes who throw the most impressive tricks receive the highest scores. The panel of judges (former athletes, coaches, and industry experts) look at style, trick difficulty, technicality, grabs on the skis or board, and clean landings. In the pipe, a run is comprised of at least four tricks (here’s a list of descriptions). Amplitude (or height on each hit) is another key factor in halfpipe scoring. Athletes get three tries each with only their highest score counting for the final result.

In Big Air, athletes throw a single trick (here’s a list) off of an enormous jump. They get three tries with the two highest scores counting toward their final result. Last season, there was a lot of talk in Big Air of a “spin-to-win” approach and many athletes pulled off dizzying, 2160-degree spins (six full rotations) to make the podium. If the Copper Mountain competitions were any indication, that dynamic seems to be shifting this season, with style and creativity rewarded over number of rotations.

Here are seven Colorado athletes who showed up in a big way for their first home snow competition of the 2022–’23 season, providing a preview of next-level tricks on tap this season.

Birk Irving

Birk Irving in the pipe during the U.S. Grand Prix
Birk Irving in the pipe during the U.S. Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Copper Mountain
  • Age: 23
  • Hometown: Winter Park
  • Event: Ski Halfpipe

Birk Irving hails from a family of decorated winter sports enthusiasts: his father a long-time fixture on Winter Park Ski Patrol, his mom a former alpine racing coach, and his younger sister also a talented freestyle skier (also, their grandfather is famous novelist John Irving). After a fifth-place finish at his first Olympics last February and a bronze medal in the 2021 World Championships, Irving put down one of the most rewarding performances of his career at Copper Mountain: a first-place finish in the men’s ski halfpipe finals.

Throwing down two jaw-dropping opening runs to put him in podium position, Irving dug deep for his final run, firing off five technical tricks, a 1080, a pair of 1260s and 720s, interchanging his right and left-side spins on each hit, and ending with his rarely seen, signature 720 pretzel flip to nab victory. “I had it in my head today and wasn’t sure I was going to need it,” Irving said of the trick. “Then, third run I was like, ‘Yup, definitely going to need it.’ You need something to set you apart from the rest. You’re never safe in any podium position, especially with the way everyone’s skiing today. I’ve gotten a few World Cup wins before, but this one hits a little different on home turf. My whole family is here. It feels really good.”

After a couple weeks at home in Winter Park, Irving will continue competing in World Cups overseas. Expect to see him at the 2023 Winter X Games in Aspen and, depending on which he chooses since they happen at the same time, either the 2023 World Championships in Georgia or the 2023 Dew Tour at Copper.

Svea Irving

Svea Irving in the pipe during the U.S. Grand Prix
Svea Irving in the pipe during the U.S. Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Copper Mountain
  • Age: 20
  • Hometown: Winter Park
  • Event: Ski Halfpipe

Chasing her older brother around whenever she gets a chance has helped Svea Irving bring her skiing to the next level. Having come back from a knee injury last year, the younger Irving opened this season with a fourth-place finish at Copper. Canadian Rachael Karker put down a commanding performance to win the women’s ski pipe, but Irving was the top American in finals and notched her career best World Cup result to date.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of the Olympic tricks, if not more on the women’s side,” Irving said afterward. “The Canadians are throwing down multiple 9s and switch 9s [900-degree spins]. It’s cool to see the progression in women’s skiing, especially after the Olympics. They’re not taking it chill. Everyone is going equally as aggressive as if it was an Olympic event.”

Irving’s “dream run” to put down sometime soon includes a Left 900, Right 900, Alley Oop 360, switch 720 and Alley Oop 720. Her goals this season are to “ski my best” and qualify for World Champs and receive an invitation to X Games or Dew Tour.

Alex Ferreira

  • Age: 28
  • Hometown: Aspen
  • Event: Ski Halfpipe

No stranger to the big stage, Alex Ferreira is a two-time Olympic silver medalist. He also won both the Grand Prix and Dew Tour last year and was the 2020 X Games gold medalist. This year at Copper, he was a spinning machine in the halfpipe, leading the competition with a second run performance that wrapped up with a jaw-dropping double cork 1620. However, he fell going big in his final run and was bumped to fourth place. Look for him seeking redemption, and possibly another gold medal, in the 2023 Winter X Games in Aspen later this month.

Hanna Faulhaber

Hanna Faulhaber in the pipe during the U.S. Grand Prix
Hanna Faulhaber in the pipe during the U.S. Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Copper Mountain
  • Age: 18
  • Hometown: Basalt
  • Event: Ski Halfpipe

The teenager who grew up watching the X Games at home in Aspen notched a sixth-place finish in her first Olympics last February in Beijing, having barely missed the podium at the 2021 World Champs. She was going huge out of the pipe at Copper, but a fall after a 900 in her final run put her in sixth. Expect to see her climbing the ranks this season on the World Cup pipe circuit.

Chris Corning

Chris Corning and Hailey Langland on the Big Air podium. Photo courtesy of Copper Mountain
  • Age: 23
  • Hometown: Silverthorne
  • Events: Snowboard Big Air, Slopestyle

The 2019 World Slopestyle Champion, Chris Corning made Olympic history as the first snowboarder to land a quadruple cork last February in Beijing. He ended up seventh there and barely missed the podium in fourth in the 2018 Olympic Games. Literally learning the tricks of his trade at Copper Mountain, Corning opened his season on home snow with a second-place finish in the Big Air event, runner-up to Norway’s Marcus Kleveland, who won by 12 points after throwing a massive 1080 and landing on the nose of his board (a dangerous and difficult trick called a “nollie”).

For his first jump, Corning threw a complicated switch backside 1620—a trick he landed for the first time in practice earlier that day—and huge 1800 triple cork for his second jump, but opted for a stylish old-school backscratcher for his final jump. “I didn’t have a trick that would get me 12 points,” he said after. “If you ask me how to win a contest, I still don’t know what to tell you. I was in my own head. I was so nervous. I know there were a lot of people here. My whole career has been at Copper, so it’s always fun to come back and compete.  I was so happy to put stuff down.”

Corning heads back to Europe this January for more World Cups but should be back on display at the 2023 Winter X Games in Aspen.

Taylor Gold

  • Age: 29
  • Hometown: Steamboat Springs
  • Event: Snowboard Halfpipe

Residing in Breckenridge, Taylor Gold, who turns 30 this January, is a pipe veteran. He made his Olympic debut in 2014 and took fifth in Beijing last February. Throwing down a similar run to his Olympic performance, including a huge cab 1080 and his stylish McTwist, Gold barely missed the Grand Prix podium, landing in fourth as Australia’s Scotty James ran away with the win.

“I was happy with my performance,” Gold said afterward, adding that a podium performance always depends on the individual competition and cannot be predicted. “It takes a lot of hard work, regardless. I think it takes the right day for some people. I feel like some days I’m there and some days I’m not. Today was close, just not quite there.”

Gold heads back to Europe in January and expects to spend the rest of the winter competing on the World Cup.

Lucas Foster

  • Age: 23
  • Hometown: Telluride
  • Event: Snowboard halfpipe

After making a name for himself a couple of years ago as the first snowboarder to throw a 1620 in the halfpipe, Lucas Foster came in 17th in his Olympic debut in Beijing, but is definitely one to watch as creative tricks abound in the pipe. He came into the Copper Grand Prix having invented a new trick over the summer: an Alley Oop double McTwist. He didn’t throw it down at Copper but did land a series of runs that only got bigger and cleaner throughout the day. Surprising to many onlookers, he landed in ninth.

“I’m happy with the run that I did and the consistency and control I had,” he said later. “It was a good start to the year. I have a lot more in the tank, which is exciting.”

Look for Foster on the podium by the time the season finishes, as well as in snowboard films and artwork.

A couple other big-name Colorado athletes competed at Copper, but didn’t qualify for finals. Still, you have not seen the last of them. Red Bull–sponsored snowboarder Jake Canter of Evergreen will be heating up the slopestyle circuit again this season. Silverthorne’s Red Gerard, the 2018 Olympic slopestyle champion, will also continue to throw down in both big air and slopestyle and will likely be one to watch in either X Games or Dew Tour.