With 100 days to go, the countdown begins in earnest for the FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships presented by Toyota, taking place at Utah's Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain, and Solitude Mountain Resort February 1-10, 2019.
Hosted by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and U.S. Ski & Snowboard and in partnership with the Utah Sports Commission, the event will attract more than 1,300 athletes from around the world to Utah for the biggest winter sports event to take place in the state since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
"Hosting one of the biggest winter events in the world will continue to showcase our expertise in hosting major international sporting events as we welcome the world back to Utah and to several of our world-class winter venues. The significant economic impact and worldwide exposure from this event will highlight to audiences around the globe that Utah's Olympic and sport legacy is alive and well, proving a tremendous benefit to Utah and our partners." - President and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission Jeff Robbins.
Among the world-famous athletes expected to take part will be Chloe Kim (Torrance, Calif.), 2018 Winter Olympic gold medalist; David Wise (Reno, Nev.), two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2018 ESPY winner; Mikaël Kingsbury (Canada), the winningest mogul skier of all time; and crowd favorite Henrik Harlaut (Sweden), six-time X Games winner.
Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort are no strangers to hosting world-class events, as both resorts hosted freestyle and snowboard events during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and have hosted a numerous FIS World Cup and U.S. Grand Prix competitions over the past 20 years.
Deer Valley Resort hosted the FIS Freestyle World Championships in 2003 and 2011, but 2019 will be the first time a U.S-based World Championship will include all events across the snowboard, freestyle and freeski disciplines. Freeski competitions were introduced to the World Championships in 2005: the freestyle and freeski competitions were held in Ruka, Finland, while snowboard events were held in Whistler, Canada. This model of separate world championships venues carried on for 10 years until 2015 in Kreischberg, Austria, where all FIS snowboard, freestyle, and freeski competitions took place at one location. The 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships in Utah will feature 15 events including slopestyle, halfpipe, big air, parallel giant slalom, parallel slalom, moguls, aerials, dual moguls, snowboardcross, and skicross. In addition, team events, which have been added to the 2022 Olympics Winter Games in Beijing, will make their World Championships debut at the 2019 World Champs, including team aerials and team snowboardcross.
While Solitude Mountain Resort may not have the history and tenure of events that Park City and Deer Valley have, it has quickly become clear it is a great addition to the World Championship program. In its first year of hosting a snowboardcross World Cup in 2017, Solitude was voted a favorite site by participating athletes. Furthermore, the terrain and facilities are perfectly suited to elite skicross and snowboardcross competition. Solitude is truly a showcase of the beauty and variation of skiing and riding in Utah, and will prove to be an amazing venue for this world-class competition.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes have a strong history of performing at their very best at recent World Championships. At the 2017 World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes collected six gold medals, three silver medals, and four bronze medals across all disciplines. U.S. athletes old and new to World Championship competition will be looking to continue that level of success in 2019 in front of their home crowds.
“I am thrilled to have World Champs on home soil this year. Coming in as reigning World Champion definitely adds to the pressure and excitement. I can’t wait to have my friends, family, and supporters out there with me!" - Defending aerials World Champion Ashley Caldwell.
Freeski and snowboard athletes have plenty of time on snow throughout early season competition to prepare and get in the competitive mindset. Competitions include the World Cup snowboard and freeski big air in Modena, Italy, Nov 3-4, World Cup freeski slopestyle in Stubai, Austria, Nov 22-24, and the World Cup snowboard air & style big air in Beijing, Nov 23-24. Also, domestic competitions include the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo., with World Cup freeski and snowboard halfpipe Dec 6-8; plus X Games and Dew Tour events leading into the 2019 Worlds.
“The World Championships are a big event, but it’s not what I’m thinking of right now as it’s still very far away in my mind,” said defending snowboardcross world champion Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.). “Right now I’m focusing on what I should be doing to prepare for the season. We are training, getting our wax technicians and equipment dialed, there is a lot that happens before now and the world champs. We just had a very successful camp and I’m taking that positive energy and moving into the next task at hand.“
Freestyle athletes will be globetrotting to hit major stops on their World Cup circuits leading into the 2019 Worlds and are sure to be ready for competition come February. The U.S. Moguls Team’s FIS World Cup circuit kicks off December 7, in Ruka, Finland, and the athletes will compete in China, Canada, and New York before skiing for World Championship glory on home soil. The aerials team will have plenty of on-snow training at the Utah Olympic Park before their competition season starts with a FIS World Cup event in Lake Placid, New York, January 19, 2019.
For defending halfpipe World Champion Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.), the world championships are very much a focal point moving into the competition season.
“With the stress of the Olympics gone, our team’s focus is definitely back on the World Championships,” said Blunck. “Alongside X Games, it is the biggest event of the 2019 competition season, so it is definitely on the top of our minds and it’s so rad it’s being held on our home turf!”
How to Watch the 2019 World Championships
NBC Sports will showcase more than 25 hours of 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championship programming, including more than 10 hours of live coverage, on NBC and the NBC Sports networks.
Additional coverage will also be available on NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product – and the Olympic Channel digital platforms. A full broadcast schedule will be available on both USSkiandSnowboard.org and 2019WorldChamps.com.
Be Part of the World Championships Team
Volunteers are a key element to providing the athletes with best-possible competition experience at the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships. More than 600 volunteers will fill positions, including on-course crew, guest services, hospitality, media, and timing, to provide athletes and spectators with a world-class experience. Many other volunteer roles are available, but with demand already high, prospective applicants are encouraged to go to https://2019worldchamps.com/volunteer-application/ for more details and to register their interest to join the team and participate in this unique opportunity.
Source: U.S. Ski & Snowboard