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Who is Scotty James?

Scotty James at the Laax Open
Miha Matavz/FIS

Who is Scotty James?

On the heels of a breakout season, this Australian is staking his claim as one of the top challengers to Shaun White

Name: Scotty James
Country: Australia
Age: 23
Sport: Snowboarding
Discipline: Halfpipe
Stance: Regular
2016/17 World Snowboard Tour ranking: 1st


  • 2017 X Games halfpipe gold medalist
  • 2017 Burton U.S. Open halfpipe silver medalist
  • 2-time world championships halfpipe gold medalist (2015, 2017)
  • 2017 WST halfpipe season champion

Olympic experience
James made his Olympic debut in 2010; the youngest rider in the field at 15 years old, he placed 21st in halfpipe while riding with a broken wrist. He returned to the Winter Games in 2014, competing in both halfpipe (21st again) and slopestyle (16th) but not posting strong results in either.

Scotty James competes in slopestyle at 2014 Olympics

In addition to his halfpipe duties, Scotty James also tackled the slopestyle course at the last Winter Olympics. Credit: Nathan Bilow/USA TODAY Sports

Olympic outlook
Thanks to an impressive 2016/17 season which saw him take a major leap forward and win several top-level contests, James is now a legitimate gold medal contender in halfpipe for the PyeongChang Games. He appears likely to pose the biggest challenge to Shaun White, the two-time Olympic champion and presumptive favorite for gold in 2018.

At over 6-feet tall, James is one of the tallest riders on the circuit and has learned to use his size to generate explosive amplitude out of the pipe. During the 2016/17 contest season, his growing arsenal of tricks expanded to include the backside double cork 1260, which became a staple of his runs. James has also developed into one of the field's most consistent riders.

This season, with the Olympics approaching, James has been exceuting some of the most technical runs in the field. He set a new bar at the Snowmass Grand Prix when he landed back-to-back 1260s and a switch backside 1260 in one of his runs. The switch backside 1260 is arguably the most technical trick currently being done in men's halfpipe.

Snowboard beginnings
James got his first taste of the sport as a 3-year-old while visiting New Zealand. There, he started off on skis but would just ignore the instructors and ski away, so he was put on a snowboard instead, in hopes that it would slow him down. He began entering competitions at age 6, then started riding halfpipe when he was 10.

Since Sochi
James is one of the sport's most improved riders since the last Olympics. A key focus has been working with coaches to improve his air awareness and generate more amplitude. James won gold at the world championships in 2015 against a field missing many of the top riders, then earned bronze at X Games in 2016 in a contest that was shortened due to weather, but those accomplishments merely preceded a genuine breakout during the 2016/17 season.

2016/17 season recap
In seven key events, James had three wins (X Games, PyeongChang Olympic test event, world championships) and two runner-up finishes (Laax Open, Burton U.S. Open) in what was a breakout season. He also emerged as a legitimate challenger to two-time Olympic champion Shaun White. There were five events in which James and White both competed, with two victories going to James and two victories going to White. James was rewarded for his season-long consistency by finishing the year ranked No. 1 in men's halfpipe in both the World Snowboard Tour standings and the FIS World Cup standings.

Scotty James wins PyeongChang World Cup

Scotty James beat out Shaun White for the top spot on the podium at the Olympic test event that was held in PyeongChang. Credit: FIS/Mateusz Kielpinski

Off the snow
Outside of snowboarding, James is also a ukulele player and a motorcycle rider. During the 2016/17 season, he launched a comedy web series called "All Day SJ," which revolves around his life as a pro snowboarder, on his YouTube channel.

Social media
Instagram: @scottyjames31
Twitter: @scottyjames31
Facebook: @scottyjamesofficial
YouTube: scottyjames31


Get to know the stars of snowboarding.


Kelly Clark (USA) | Ben Ferguson (USA) | Ayumu Hirano (JPN) | Scotty James (AUS) | Chase Josey (USA) | Chloe Kim (USA) | Maddie Mastro (USA) | Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) |
Shaun White (USA)

Slopestyle/Big Air:

Jamie Anderson (USA) | Chris Corning (USA) |
Anna Gasser (AUT) | Red Gerard (USA) | Marcus Kleveland (NOR) | Hailey Langland (USA) | Julia Marino (USA) | Mark McMorris (CAN) | Silje Norendal (NOR) | Spencer O'Brien (CAN) | Max Parrot (CAN) | Stale Sandbech (NOR)


Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) | Eva Samkova (CZE)

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