The 2016/17 Freestyle calendar saw a total of 47 competitions held in the big air, ski cross, moguls, aerials, halfpipe, and slopestyle tours, with events taking place in 16 countries across four continents. Here are the top highlights from the FIS Freestyle Ski season.
New this season
2016/17 was one of the biggest seasons for new developments and initiatives on the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, with the successful completion of the first ever big air World Cup series, and two new tours-within-the-tour making their first marks on the scene.
Sweden’s Dahlstrom and Harlaut took the 2016/17 big air crystal globes - the first big air globes ever awarded Opening the World Cup season with competitions in South America at the El Colorado (CHI) competition, and featuring three city competitions, the first big air World Cup was a huge success, and bodes well for the future.
The first ever Super Series was another highlight this past season, with freeski and snowboard big air competitions visiting Milan (ITA), Moenchengladbach (GER), and Quebec City (CAN).
And, finally, there was the Audi FIS Ski Cross ‘Cross Alps Tour’, which featured six ski cross competitions at four venues of Val Thorens (FRA), Arosa (SUI), Montafon (AUT) and Innichen (ITA) spread over 1000 kms across the Alps, all taking place in just 14 days.
After the first-ever overall crystal globe win by a halfpipe and/or slopestyle skier last season: Devin Logan (USA), it was back to moguls domination this season, with Britt Cox (AUS) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) both taking home a pair of globes come season end.
Cox came into the season without a win to her name, but by the time it was all said and done she won seven times, scored two third-place finishes, and only missed the podium twice in the season’s 11 competitions. Throw in a moguls gold medal at the Sierra Nevada 2017 Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships and you’ve got quite the coming out party for the 22-year-old Australian.
Then there was Kingsbury, who, with nine wins and 10 podiums in 11 competitions - including a record-tying win streak of seven wins to finish the season - had one of the greatest seasons in moguls World Cup history. Kingsbury finished the season with his running total standing at 42 wins - setting a new benchmark for the most in Freestyle history - and now has six-straight moguls and overall Freestyle globes to his name. And he’s still only 24 years old.
Halfpipe and aerials’ athletes got their first taste of the site for next year’s PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Moguls athletes also got an early look nearby to the future home of Freestyle competition for the Beijing 2022 Games of Genting Resort when they competed in nearby Thaiwoo (CHN).
In moguls, youngsters Olivia Giaccio (USA) and Walter Wallberg (SWE) showed that the future of moguls skiing is bright, with both athletes stepping up to claim their first career podiums on the ever-competitive moguls World Cup, and both doing so at just 16 years of age.
On the Audi Ski Cross World Cup, two athletes began their World Cup careers after making the jump from Alpine Skiing, with Siegmar Klotz (ITA) and Francois Place (FRA) both showing up on tour and making immediate impacts.
Klotz captured the 2016/17 ski cross “Rookie of the Year” honours after finishing 22nd overall with three top-10 finishes. Place, meanwhile, would score two top-10s in just three World Cup race starts, before going on to shock the ski cross world with a bronze-medal finish at Sierra Nevada 2017 to cap the season.
Best social media post
18-year-old French ripper Perrine Laffont closed out the season with a win in Thaiwoo, and the fans took notice. With a Facebook reach of nearly 500,000, and over 60,000 minutes of view time, this simple show of Laffont crushing the Thaiwoo course was one of the top posts of the season.
Best “Behind the Scenes” video
Big air crystal globe winner Henrik Harlaut sat down with us ahead of the final competition of the 2016/17 FIS Freestyle Ski season to talk with us about the style and the substance of freeskiing, in a thoughtful and illuminating interview. The fans liked it too, as Harlaut’s “Behind the Scenes” spot would go on to become the most well-received of the season, reiterating his spot as one of the most well-loved and well-respected athletes in freeskiing.