The 2023/24 FIS Freestyle World Cup season preview

Get ready for an adrenaline-packed 2023/24 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season, launching already this upcoming weekend at the iconic Ruka resort in Finland.

The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup season opener, featuring both moguls and aerials competitions, sets the stage for what promises to be an electrifying series of events.

In the unique landscape of a post-World Championships year, without the Olympics or World Championships in the mix, the spotlight shines brightly on the World Cup crystal globes. This season presents a fascinating blend of emerging talents joining the World Cup circuit, seasoned veterans reassessing their competitive strategies, and elite athletes in their prime, all eager to dominate the leaderboards.

We are excited to welcome fans to our events, providing an immersive experience for those who can join us onsite. For our global audience, we’re bringing the action to you through comprehensive TV broadcasts, live streams on FIS TV, and dynamic social media coverage. Everything is set for a season of high-octane FIS Freestyle action, and we’re thrilled to bring this spectacle to fans around the globe.

Let’s delve into the 2023/24 FIS Freestyle Moguls & Aerials World Cup calendar, boasting an impressive lineup of events across 11 legendary venues on three continents. From the intense challenges of mogul courses to the breathtaking heights of aerials, each event is a showcase of extraordinary skill and athletic prowess that will keep fans captivated.

The Calendar

The season ignites at the picturesque Ruka resort in Finland, hosting the inaugural moguls and aerials events for the 14th consecutive year on December 2-3. This will be followed by high-stakes moguls and dual moguls competitions at Sweden’s Idre Fjall on December 8-9.

December continues with a dual spectacle: moguls and dual moguls events in the stunning Alpe d’Huez in France, and awe-inspiring aerial feats in Changchun, China, on December 15-16. This marks a return to Chinese soil, echoing the excitement of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The month wraps up in Bakuriani, Georgia, which, riding high from the success of the 2023 World Championships, will showcase moguls and dual moguls on December 22-23.

As the new year dawns, the action sweeps across North America. The lineup features moguls and dual moguls in Val St Come, Canada, and Waterville, USA, the latter debuting its newly minted World Cup venue. Lac-Beauport in Canada gears up to host spectacular aerials towards the end of January. Then, Deer Valley in the USA will dazzle fans with a three-day freestyle extravaganza from February 1-3, featuring a trio of events: aerials, moguls, and dual moguls.

As winter begins to wane in March, the competition stays heated. Almaty’s Shymbulak resort in Kazakhstan, renowned for its spectacular 2021 World Championships, will display aerials, moguls, and dual moguls competitions from March 8-10. The season culminates at Chiesa in Valmalenco, Italy, with the final dual moguls event on March 16, setting the stage for a grand finale.

With this thrilling calendar of events, the 2023/24 FIS Freestyle World Cup season is poised to be a spectacular showcase of skill, daring, and the unbridled spirit of winter sports.

Full calendar is available HERE.

Top contenders – Moguls

On the women’s front, the 2023/24 season brings a shift in dynamics with the notable absence of Perrine Laffont (FRA) and Anri Kawamura (JPN) from the starting gate at Ruka. Laffont, a double World Cup winner and double World Champion from last season, is taking a hiatus to focus on her future goals, including the 2025 World Championships and 2026 Olympic Winter Games. Meanwhile, Kawamura, who led the dual moguls standings before a season-ending injury last year, is still in recovery and unfortunately won’t be competing this year.

This opens up an exciting opportunity for other athletes to vie for the moguls and dual moguls titles. Leading this charge is Jakara Anthony (AUS), the 2022 Olympic Champion. Anthony is not only defending her moguls title but is also aiming to add more crystal globes to her impressive record, which also includes dual moguls and overall moguls titles from 2022. No doubt her prowess as one of the world’s top mogul skiers makes her a formidable competitor this season.

The US team, always a strong contender, is led by Jaelin Kauf, who secured third place in both moguls and dual moguls rankings last year. Kauf’s speed and competitiveness set her apart, and she’s supported by a talented roster including Olivia Giaccio, Hannah Soar, and Tess Johnson. The US team also boasts promising young talents like Elizabeth Lemley and Alli Macuga, Rookies of the Year in 2022 and 2023, respectively, as well as Kai Owens, who is making a comeback after missing the previous season due to injury.

Avital Carroll (AUT), a double bronze medalist from the 2023 World Championships, and Yuliya Galysheva (KAZ), making a World Cup return post-Olympic break, are also athletes to watch out for this upcoming season.

The men’s competition is equally compelling, with ‘King of Moguls’ Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) entering his 15th World Cup season. At 31, Kingsbury is the oldest athlete in the men’s field, but his age belies his exceptional form. Last season, he dominated the competition, securing two World Championships gold medals and three World Cup crystal globes. His record of 80 World Cup wins and 115 podiums makes him the primary target for competitors.

Kingsbury’s main rivals include Ikuma Horishima and 2022 Olympic Champion Walter Wallberg (SWE), who were second and third in the overall moguls ranking last year, respectively. Veterans like Benjamin Cavet (FRA), Matt Graham (AUS), Dylan Walczyk (USA), and Pavel Kolmakov (KAZ) also add depth to the field.

The younger generation of skiers, such as Nick Page (USA), Cole McDonald (USA), Elliot Vaillancourt (CAN), and Filip Gravenfors (SWE), are proving to be strong contenders, ready to challenge the established stars. Their performances in previous seasons indicate a rising trend in youth talent, adding an exciting dimension to the upcoming season.

Top contenders – Aerials

The aerials competition is set to be equally thrilling. The women’s field features the Australian duo of Danielle Scott and Laura Peel, last season’s top aerials competitors. Both Scott and Peel have over a decade of experience, numerous World Cup wins, World Championships medals, and are known for executing some of the most challenging tricks in the sport.

From China, we have Kong Fanyu, the 2023 World Champion from Bakuriani, and Xu Mengtao, the 2022 Olympic gold medalist, who are both expected to make significant impacts. Xu, following her post-Olympic break, is one of the most decorated athletes in the history of women’s aerials skiing and is highly anticipated to compete again. Although she is not listed for the season’s start in Ruka, keep an eye out for her standout performances when the competition moves to China in the second half of December.

The North American contingent includes Marion Thenault (CAN), as well as Kaila Kuhn and Winter Vinecki (USA), with Vinecki recently landing her first triple flip on snow in Ruka.

In the men’s field, the Swiss duo of Noe Roth and Pirmin Werner, top contenders from last season’s aerials World Cup, are expected to continue their strong performances. Dmytro Kotovskyi (UKR), known for his Full triple Full-Full trick, and the USA’s Christopher Lillis and Quinn Dehlinger, members of the gold medal team from Bakuriani, are also key athletes to watch.

Canada’s Lewis Irving is set to return from a significant injury, supported by young talents like Miha Fontaine and Emile Nadeau.

Finally, Team China led by 2022 Olympic Champion Qi Guangpu and three-time Olympic medalist Jia Zongyang, brings a mix of experienced veterans and promising newcomers, poised to make a strong impact in the upcoming World Cup season.

As the season approaches, the excitement and anticipation for these athletes’ performances grow, setting the stage for a thrilling and unpredictable series of 2023/24 FIS Freestyle World Cup competitions.

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