And then there were eight: The 2021 European Skier of the Year Contest continues with the Semifinal Round.
Four men and four women have braved the hazards of the first two rounds, and now go head to head in their toughest battles yet. Read up on our talented semifinalists below, then click on the link to cast your vote.
Mathilde with her 2021 X Games gold. Photo: Eric Lars Bakke/ESPN Images
Mathilde’s big highlight in 2021 was no doubt landing the first switch double cork 1440 in women’s competition to claim her third X Games Big Air gold medal. She made a strong showing at FIS events as well, taking silver in slopestyle at the World Ski Championships and third at the Corvatsch World Cup slopestyle. After all that competing she still found some time to film, scoring the closing shots of the women’s segment in the 2021 Faction Skis movie, Roots.
Tess on her way to the win at Big Air Chur. Photo: Ethan Stone
Already a competitive force to be reckoned with, Tess rose to her potential in 2021, picking up podiums left and right on her way to the overall World Cup slopestyle title. She took second at the Kreischberg Big Air and won the slopestyles in Aspen and Corvatsch. In the fall she picked up right where she’d left off, taking first and second at the Big Airs in Chur and Steamboat respectively, and winning the Dew Tour slopestyle to boot. That’s a whole lot of hardware for one calendar year.
After taking third place at the World Cup Big Air in Kreischberg, Kelly’s 2021 season was cut short by an injury at the X Games, where she tweaked her ACL. She was back in form by the fall, however, snapping up the win at the Stubai slopestyle, claiming third at the Copper Mountain halfpipe and second at the Dew Tour halfpipe. That’s podiums in all three disciplines—big air, slopestyle and halfpipe—even in an “off year” for the Estonian phenom.
The third member of Switzerland’s female freeski power trio, Giulia started strong in 2021 with a win at the Kreischberg Big Air before a broken arm at the X Games knocked her out for the rest of the season. Undeterred, Giulia started filming for a webisode series called “The Journey” to document her road to recovery, and after a summer of hard work, she was back in form in time for the fall contest grind.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know why Markus Eder is on this list. Currently closing in on six million views on YouTube, Makke’s epic two-year project “The Ultimate Run” showcased the former Freeride World Tour champ and consummate all-rounder at his finest, shredding everything from steep Swiss faces to South Tyrolean castle walls, with some park and street tossed in for good measure. It’s rare that a single project will put someone in the running for Skier of the Year, but no doubt about it: this is that project, and this is that someone.
The sole freeride competitor to make the men’s quarterfinals, Max dominated the Junior Tour in 2021 with wins at the Verbier 3* and 2* events as well as at the Freeride Junior World Championship, earning himself a ticket to the current season’s World Tour. And lest we typecast him as a contest jock, let’s not forget that in 2021 Max also put out this highly entertaining personal project, “FRIHET.”
Matěj broke out in 2021—a breakout that’s still ongoing as I write this text. The young Czech-turned-Austrian phenomenon first put us on notice by winning the Junior World Championships Big Air with a switch quad 1620. Shortly thereafter he was voted Ruler of the Week by his peers at Audi Nines. Then he kicked off the 21/22 contest season by winning the first two big airs in Chur and Steamboat back to back. Last but not least, he logged a healthy share of jaw-dropping clips in Faction’s Roots.
How could we hold ESOTY without E-Dollo in the house? The season after dropping his two-year movie project Salute, Henrik played it cool both on the competition and filming fronts. In Henrik’s case, “playing it cool” still meant taking third at the Aspen World Cup slopestyle as well as winning X Games Knuckle Huck. On film, he led the charge for the Harlaut Apparel team video WUN.