SNOWMASS, Colo. — While Shaun White stole the show with a perfect score of 100, Bend’s Ben Ferguson also officially qualified for the U.S. Olympic snowboard team at a U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe event on Saturday.
Ferguson finished fifth with a score of 85.25. White, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, won with a score of 100 on his third and final run. James Scotty of Australia was second with a 96.25, and Yuto Totsuka of Japan finished third (94.50).
Jakes Pates of the U.S. finished fourth (94) and also qualified for the Olympic team.
The Grand Prix at Snowmass was the third of four Olympic qualifiers for halfpipe snowboarding.
Ferguson, 22, came into this week’s Grand Prix with the lead in U.S. Olympic qualifying after posting two podium finishes (second and third) in U.S. Grand Prix and Dew Tour events last month.
Ferguson moved into second place in Saturday’s contest after posting an 85.25 on his second run. But he failed to land a trick cleanly on his third run and dropped into fifth place as other riders posted their best scores on their third runs.
But no matter, Ferguson is headed to his first Olympics, set for Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
According to olympics.nbcsports.com, White, Ferguson and Pates have all met the automatic qualifying standards for the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team with 1,800 qualifying points each. The U.S. typically sends four men’s halfpipe riders to the Olympics, and the fourth spot is discretionary.
The final Olympic qualifier for halfpipe snowboarding is set for next Friday and Saturday at Mammoth Mountain, California.
Two other Bend halfpipe riders, Gabe Ferguson, who is Ben’s younger brother, and Kent Callister, failed to qualify for Saturday’s finals. But Callister remains a top contender to make the Australian Olympic team, and Gabe Ferguson is currently sixth in U.S. Olympic qualifying with 950 points.