Valentino Guseli performs at the Laax Open in Laax, Switzerland on January 13, 2022.

World’s best freeskiers and snowboarders set for Laax Open

The 2023 Laax Open – Europe’s most anticipated snowsports competition – will see the Swiss Alps hosting 300 of the world’s top snowboarders from January 18 to 22 and now freeskiers will join the party for the very first time. 

Slopestyle continues to prove that it is one of the most exciting snowsports disciplines in the world with the women’s snowboard field this year including the likes of American fan-favourite Hailey Langland, 2021 winner Jamie Anderson and Japanese powerhouse Reira Iwabuchi.

It is the mighty clash between Austrian star Anna Gasser and Australia’s reigning Laax Open and Olympic champion Tess Coady that will attract the most attention, though, with Gasser yet to take gold in Laax.

Past men’s snowboard slopestyle winners are Americans Sean Fitzsimmons (2022) and Chris Corning (2019) as well as Sweden’s Niklas Mattsson (2021), who will go up against legends such as Mark McMorris of Canada and Norway’s Marcus Kleveland, as well as Olympic champions like China’s Yu Siming and young guns such as Canada’s Truth Smith.

The freeski slopestyle event launches for the first time with local men’s legends Fabian Bösch and Andri Ragettli facing American phenomenons Alex Hall and Nick Goepper.

The women’s field is similarly stacked with Switzerland’s Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud, French gold-magnet Tess Ledeux and Estonia’s 10-time X Games medallist Kelly Sildaru all poised for an epic battle.

Meanwhile, Laax houses the world’s longest competition halfpipe. At 21m wide, with 7m-high walls, this icy arena was built to boost riders to record-setting heights and push the limits of the sport.

The men’s snowboard halfpipe contest sees Australian Scotty James – fresh off his amazing 99 score at the FIS World Cup event in Copper Mountain – up against 17-year-old compatriot Valentino Guseli who won the FIS World Cup big air crystal globe last weekend in Kreischberg.

Reigning Laax Open and Olympic champ Ayumu Hirano of Japan, world-record holder Kaishu Hirano – who boosted over 7.4m out of the pipe in Beijing last season – and Yuto Totsuka, who wants to regain dominance after a 2021 X Games gold medal performance, are also in contention.

The women’s snowboard halfpipe sees Spanish veteran Queralt Castellet and American prodigy Chloe Kim up against the potent Japanese triple threat of Mitsuki Ono, Sena Tomita and Haruna Matsumoto.

Watch the Laax Open finals live on Red Bull TV from 1.15pm CET (12.15pm UTC) on Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22 HERE.

Header image: Valentino Guseli performs at the Laax Open in Laax, Switzerland on January 13, 2022.

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