Early reviews of the halfpipe are good, which is welcome news at the Olympics, where organizers have struggled to get it right for the past two games.  

``This pipe may be one of the best, if not the best, we've ever been on,'' says American Arielle Gold. 

 

Gold is the snowboarder who separated her shoulder after catching an edge during a training run four years ago on the rugged halfpipe in Sochi; she never made it to the starting line.

That halfpipe got roundly ripped by the riders, and eventually, the crew that maintained the Alpine course had to come down and help smooth things out. By that time, however, the men's and women's snowboarding contests had been impacted.

Four years before that, in Vancouver, warm weather and periods of rain caused similar problems.

That hasn't been a problem in South Korea, however. Kelly Clark said that through the first two days of practice, the pipe was running fast and smooth.

Shaun White's coach, JJ Thomas, said ``people like it. They always want subtle changes, but it's probably the best Olympic halfpipe we've seen since 2002.''

In 2002, Thomas won the bronze medal as part of a U.S. sweep in Park City, Utah, in what was then an 18-foot-high halfpipe. The pipes have since been expanded to 22 feet high, making the jumps bigger and the tricks harder. 

Thomas said if the weather is favorable, the halfpipe conditions in Pyeongchang could set up for an epic contest. White and Japan's Ayumu Hirano are both expected to try back-to-back 1440-degree jumps. Hirano became the first person to pull off that combination two weeks ago at the Winter X Games, where he walked away with the win.