Gstaad slopestyle last before Sochi Olympics
GSTAAD, SUI – The last FIS Freestyle slopestyle World Cup before the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games is set to take place at Switzerland's expansive Gstaad resort this weekend, with Friday's qualifications followed by finals on Saturday.
While a good portion of the top names in slopestyle won't be in attendance at Gstaad, those who are competing will be looking to take advantage of the opening to score last-minute points towards earning a spot at the Sochi Games. The qualification period for the Games ends on Sunday, January 19th.
Jesper Tjader (SWE), 2nd at last week's weather-shortened Breckenridge (USA) slopestyle, will be one of the top competitors on the men's side, along with a large hometown Swiss squad that will include Jonas Hunziker and Elias Ambuehl. The Norwegians will also be well represnted, with Per Kristian Hunder looking to improve on a disappointing 72nd place finish in Breckenridge and Johan Berg looking for his first podium since nearly a year ago in Silvaplana (SUI)
The ladies' event will also see last week's 2nd place finisher seeking to continue her strong skiing, with Emma Dahlstrom (SWE) set to compete in her third World Cup of the season. Freeskier Magazines women's “Skier of the Year” Maude Raymond (CAN) is registered to compete, as is 17-year-old phenom Lisa Zimmerman (GER).
After last week's weather nightmare in Breckenridge, things look thankfully calm in Switzerland over the coming days. With any luck, that will hold, and the World Cup slopestyle tour can head into the Olympic period with a full competition under its belt and, maybe, some last-minute qualifiers to the big show in Russia in February.
Ladies' slopestyle World Cup leader board can be seen HERE
Men's slopestyle World Cup leader board can be seen HERE