30 Jul 2015

Top snowboarders lineup for Winter Games

5:09 pm on 30 July 2015

The Olympic snowboarding medallists Kelly Clark of the United States and Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland will among the leading competitors at next month's Winter Games in Queenstown.

The pair will compete in the World Cup Halfpipe competition.

Clark is a trailblazer in her sport and billed as the most successful snowboarder ever, male or female, winning the 2002 Winter Olympic halfpipe gold medal and bronze medals in 2010 and 2014 along with five Winter X Games halfpipe wins.

After claiming her fifth World Snowboarding Tour title earlier this year she returns to defend her Winter Games NZ 2013 halfpipe gold at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

The Russian-born Podladtchikov now represents Switzerland and is a force to be reckoned with, after clocking a string of impressive titles since his first competition in 2007, capped off with the coveted halfpipe gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

Snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates winning a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates winning a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Photo: Supplied/Getty Images

Other leading snowboards competing in the women's halfpipe are Hikaru Oe of Japan, France's Mirabelle Thovex and Australia's Holly Crawford.

Two 2013 medallists, Taku Hiraoka of Japan and Christian Haller of Switzerland who took silver and bronze respectively will be in the hunt in the men's field again this year, along with Slovenian Tim-Kevin Ravnjak who placed third at this yaer's world champs in Austria.

In the slopestyle competition Austria's Anna Gasser who's currently second on the World Snowboard Tour and Enni Rukajarvi of Finland who won silver at the Sochi Olympics and is ranked third on the Tour are in the field.

New Zealand's Sochi Olympic representative Christy Prior will also be in the mix after a first place at the Burton European Open and third place at X Games.

Top ranked men include slopestyle specialist and number two on the World Snowboard Tour, Yuki Kadono of Japan, Canada's Michael Ciccarelli winner of his home FIS World Cup Slopestyle at Stoneham last February and Lucien Koch of Switzerland who won the FIS World Cup Slopestyle in the Czech Republic in March.

Talented eighteen-year-old Carlos Garcia-Knight, New Zealand's highest ranked freestyle snowboarder and silver medal winner in slopestyle at the World Junior Championships 2015 in China, will lead the New Zealand men's charge competing in slopestyle and Big Air.