The Corvatsch park is ready for the penultimate slopestyle World Cup of the season
Silvaplana (SUI) - After two shining competitions on the world’s stage at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea the FIS Freeski World Cup returns to action with the penultimate slopestyle competition of the 2017/18 season set to take to the slopes of Silvaplana (SUI) on Friday and Saturday of this week.
This will be the sixth straight season that Silvaplana’s Corvatsch resort will host its slopestyle World Cup. Qualifications at this season’s event will get underway at 9:20 CET on Friday, March 2, while finals will begin at 12:40 the following day. Both the qualification and final rounds will be in a best-of-two run format.
Despite many athletes opting out of the final few weeks of competition after the obvious season high-point of the Games, a strong field is still expected be on hand in Switzerland looking to prove themselves once again this season. And, with the always innovative and challenging Corvatsch park primed and ready to see the athletes give their best, this weekend’s competition should see some top-level skiing.
Hoefflin and Gremaud bring Olympic hardware home to Swiss event
Two Swiss locals are sure to attract the most attention this week in Silvaplana, as Sarah Hoefflin and Mathilde Gremaud come into competition on home soil as the newly-minted Olympic gold and silver medalists, respectively.
Last season, Gremaud took third place at Silvaplana, while Hoefflin was able to earn the 2016/17 slopestyle crystal globe in the same competition, meaning both ladies should have some fond memories of the resort to build upon this week. While neither has a shot at this season’s title, with Hoefflin sitting in 12th overall and Gremaud competing in her first World Cup of 2017/18, both will be looking to reassert their positions at the top of the ladies slopestyle game on home soil after their incredible Olympic showings.
However, Gremaud and Hoefflin aren’t the only ones who are out of luck when it comes to claiming top spot on the World Cup this season, as Sweden’s Jennie-Lee Burmansson comes into Silvaplana with a sizeable lead on the 2017/18 slopestyle World Cup standings. With second-overall Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen (NOR) not competing this week, and her teammate and third-overall skier Johanna Killi sitting some 159 points back with just two competitions left in the season, the 15-year-old Burmansson is all but assured of becoming one of the youngest crystal globe winners in Freestyle history.
Still, with four top-five finishes so far this season and a win at her last competition in Snowmass (USA), Killi can be counted on to make things interesting for Burmansson this weekend and she, along with Tess Ledeux (FRA), Kim Lamarre (CAN), and Kea Kuehnel (GER) should all be in podium contention in Silvaplana.
Ragettli in tough to earn second career slopestyle crystal globe
On the men’s side there will be plenty more for the host fans to be excited about at this weekend’s competition, with current World Cup leader Andri Ragettli leading a stacked Swiss squad that also includes the likes of Fabian Boesch, Elias Ambuehl, and Jonas Hunziker. While Ragettli, Ambuehl, and Hunziker all made finals in PyeongChang, the Swiss team left the Olympic competition empty-handed, and you can bet redemption will be on their minds on Saturday.
Ragettli, whose seventh-place finish was the best of the Swiss in Korea, will have to be on top of his game if he hopes to earn his second slopestyle crystal globe in three years this season, as six athletes on hand in Silvaplana are still within striking distance of his 260 points.
Tops on that list is Oscar Wester (SWE), whose 225 points puts him just 35 back of Ragettli and very much in the running to steal the globe from under his Swiss competitors nose. The top qualifier at the Games, Wester is currently skiing at the highest level of his career, and this should make Ragettli very nervous indeed.
Further down the list the likes of Ferdinand Dahl (NOR), James Woods (GBR), and Jesper Tjader (SWE) all have a theoretical shot at this season’s World Cup title, though each would require strong results in the final two World Cup competitions along with some good fortune to take this season’s trophy.
Expect Woods especially to come out firing in Silvaplana after finishing just off the podium with a fourth-place result at PyeongChang 2018. One of the most stylish and consistent slopestyle skiers in the world, Woods should be at his creative best on the intricate Silvaplana course.
- Silvaplana slopestyle World Cup data page
- Competition program
- Slopestyle photos
- Live-stream (finals only)