The 2019/20 FIS Freeski slopestyle World Cup is just around the corner, with the first competition of the season set to take to the infamous Stubai Zoo (AUT) from November 22-23, 2019. With six stops set to hit some exciting locales across Europe and North America, the slopestyle season really heats up in the New Year, where January will see three competitions in three weeks at Font Romeu (FRA), Seiser Alm (ITA) and Mammoth (USA), before hitting Calgary (CAN) in February and finally wrapping things up once again at Silvaplana (SUI) in March. With no world championships or Olympics on the menu in 2019/20, the World Cup crystal globe is the season’s greatest prize, and you can expect nothing but the best in slopestyle action as work our way towards the unveiling of the winners of that trophy and the season finale in Silvaplana.
Venues (click for more info):
Stubai (AUT), Nov 22-23, 2019 - The FIS Freeski slopestyle World Cup will open the season in Stubai for the third-straight time this season, where the resort’s high-altitude (3100m) glacier and dependable early-season snowfall ensure a competition course that stands with the best in the world, year in and year out. Stubai has long been a favourite autumn training destination of the world’s best snowsports athletes, so throwing a World Cup into the mix in November at the Austrian hotspot was a no-brainer. Guaranteed to start the season off with a bang.
Font Romeu (FRA), Jan 9-11, 2020 - This season marks the fourth straight that we’ve stopped in Font Romeu, the famously sunny Pyrenees resort on the French border with Spain. With 100 years in operation Font Romeu is one of the oldest ski resorts in France, making for a cool combination of the past and the future every time the FIS Freeski World Cup shows up for a week of action. Throw in two-time French winner in the talented Tess Ledeux and you’ve got a whole lot of ingredients to make an outstanding event.
Seiser Alm (ITA), Jan 17-18, 2020 - Now heading into its fourth-straight season as a World Cup host in 2019/20, the Seiser Alm Legends slopestyle competition has established itself as a fan and rider favourite, with it’s picture-perfect course construction, South Tyrolean-hospitality, and the stunning backdrop of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Dolomites towering in the distance. Of note is that, Seiser Alm has been a hotspot for the US squad over the years, for seven of the 18 total podiums and four of the six victories that have been up for grabs going to US skiers.
Mammoth Mountain (USA), Jan 29-Feb 01, 2020 - One of the most historic resorts in freeskiing and boasting a World Cup pedigree dating back to the 2011/12 season, California’s Mammoth Mountain is considered by legions to be a mecca of the sport. Anybody who’s anybody in freeskiing has taken a turn through the Mammoth Unbound’s Main Park over the sport’s history, and once again we expect a stacked field to continue that legacy at this season’s Land Rover US Grand Prix slopestyle and halfpipe World Cup competitions as we close out a busy January.
Calgary (CAN), Feb 12-15, 2020 - Speaking of skiing’s hallowed grounds, this season we’re bringing FIS Freeski World Cup action to a location where so many things began for trick-based skiing, as Calgary gets set to host its first-ever slopestyle World Cup. Competition in Calgary will take place just outside the city centre at Canada Olympic Park, the venue where aerials and ski ballet made their Olympic debuts as demonstration events at the Calgary 1988 Games. Now the main training centre for Canada’s top winter sport athletes, Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park is an ideal new venue to bring into the mix as we continue to propel freeskiing into the future.
Silvaplana (SUI), Mar 19-21, 2020 - The longest-running competition on the FIS Freeski slopestyle World Cup, Silvaplana’s Corvatsch has served as a late-season (or season-finale) highlight of the FIS Freeski tour every winter since 2012/13. With a perfect competition piste and a design and build crew that loves to mix in some creativity, Silvaplana is always a tour favourite for the riders and fans alike, and a fitting spot to wrap up the season once again in 2019/20.
Three to watch - WOMEN (click for FIS profile):
Sarah Hoefflin (SUI) - The reigning slopestyle Olympic gold medallist and the woman with one of the most interesting backstories of any in freeskiing. Sarah Hoefflin didn’t even start skiing competitively until her early 20s, after completing a degree in neuroscience in the UK and moving back to Switzerland. Once she did hit the competition ranks, however, her rise to the top took but months, as she won the slopestyle crystal globe in 2016/17 - her first World Cup season. Incredibly, Hoefflin followed that up by winning big air gold at the X Games, before taking slopestyle gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Now 28 years old, Hoefflin remains at the top of her game at an age when many riders are looking to wind their careers down.
Tess Ledeux (FRA) - Already a two-time world champion at just 17 years old (Sierra Nevada 2017 slopestyle, Utah 2019 big air), as well as a podium winner at the Dew Tour, four-time X Games medalist (including two slopestyle silvers) and twice a World Cup winner on home soil at Font Romeu, Tess Ledeux has shown a penchant for getting it done on the biggest of stages.
Kelly Sildaru (EST) - Touted as the future of freeskiing since the first edits of her and her little brother Henry hit the internet when she was barely in grade school, Kelly Sildaru has done nothing but live up to those expectations in the years since. Winner of slopestyle gold at her first X Games - when she was just 13 - Sildaru now has six junior world championship gold medals, podiums in five of five career World Cups, a handful of Dew Tour podiums, seven X Games medals, and Utah 2019 world champs halfpipe gold to her name - all at the age of 17. Elite in halfpipe, big air, and slopestyle, Kelly Sildaru is already one of the biggest names in skiing.
Not to be overlooked - Megan Oldham (CAN), Julia Krass (USA) Johanne Killi (NOR), Giulia Tanno (SUI), Mathilde Gremaud (SUI), Caroline Claire (USA), Dara Howell (CAN), Ailing Gu (CHN)
Three to watch - MEN (click for FIS profile):
Alex Hall (USA) - The hottest man in freeskiing, Alex Hall has been on a tear since the beginning of last season. With two World Cup victories and a runner up, a Dew Tour second-place finish, and two X Games wins in that period (all results spread between big air and slopestyle), Hall has seen more podiums than darn near anybody in skiing in the last 12 or 13 months. Creative, stylish, consistent, and on a roll, Alex Hall is the real deal.
Mac Forehand (USA) - Last season’s slopestyle crystal globe winner in what was hist first full winter on the circuit, 18-year-old Mac Forehand’s rise to the upper-echelon of freeskiers seemed like it happened in a blink. While he may not yet be a household name, a win, a runner-up, and a fourth-place finish at the Utah 2019 world championships last season suggest he’s on his way to becoming one soon.
Andri Ragettli (SUI) - While we already included Mr. Ragettli in our big air preview a few days ago, it wouldn’t be right not not include him in the slopestyle look-ahead, as well. Ragettli has been in the top-3 on the slopestyle World Cup rankings for five-straight seasons, while claiming two crystal globes in that time - as well as a big air globe last season for good measure. In 22 career slopestlye World Cup events, Ragettli has only found himself outside of the top-10 six times, while amassing 10 podiums and four victories in that time. All of this adds up to make him, at 22 years old, the most decorated athlete in slopestyle World Cup history.
Not to be overlooked - Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN), Max Moffat (CAN), Oystein Braaten (NOR), Oliwer Magnusson (SWE), Henrik Harlaut (SWE), Colby Stevenson (USA), James Woods (GBR), Nicholas Goepper (USA), Ferdinand Dahl (NOR)