It was a dark and stormy night in Chur, Switzerland. So stormy that the freeski finals of Big Air Chur planned for Friday evening had to be cancelled.
After weeks of unseasonably warm conditions, a nasty bout of fall weather showed just in time to spoil the fun at Big Air Chur, the kickoff event of the 2023/24 World Cup season.
First, the freeski qualification rounds were moved up from Friday morning to Thursday morning after the forecast showed rain moving in. The results of those qualifications ended up being final, as the forecasted rain and wind only increased throughout the day of the finals.
At 4:00pm on Friday a WhatsApp message was sent to all participants from event organizers: “Freeski finals at the Big Air Chur FIS Freeski World Cup, originally scheduled to take place on Friday 20 October at 20:00CET, are cancelled due to heavy winds and rain overnight Thursday and into Friday making it impossible to properly prepare the venue for a safe and fair competition. Results from Thursday’s qualifications will stand as final results.”
Switzerland's Michell Rageth made it to her first World Cup finals, finishing in eighth place. Photo: Buchholz/FIS
After missing the finals in 2021 and taking third place last year, home-country favorite Mathilde Gremaud claimed the top spot at Big Air Chur in 2023. Although it’s certainly not the way she would have preferred to win, Mathilde’s silky-smooth double cork 1260 safety from qualifications landed her on top of the podium. Last year’s winner Tess Ledeux took second place with her own double cork 12 mute, while Sarah Hoefflin completed the podium in third with her signature switch double cork 1080 mute.
The results were more surprising on the men’s side. In just his second year on the World Cup circuit, Dylan Deschamps of Canada picked up his first win with a stomped switch double cork 1620 mute. Dylan impressed us in last year’s qualis with a double cork 16 bringback attempt that would have seen him in the finals if he’d landed it, and now one year later, he’s bagged an important win.
Another surprise was Austria’s Daniel Bacher aka Dani B, who swooped into second place with a switch tailbutter double cork 1440 safety. Last year’s winner Birk Ruud took third with his trademark double bio 1800 mute.
Dylan Deschamps of Canada upset the apple cart in Chur, winning the qualifications and then his first World Cup title when the finals were cancelled. Photo: Buchholz/FIS
Final results: Big Air Chur FIS Freeski World Cup 2023
1. Mathilde Gremaud (SUI)
2. Tess Ledeux (FRA)
3. Sarah Hoefflin (SUI)
4. Sandra Eie (NOR)
5. Kateryna Kotsar (UKR)
6. Flora Tabanelli (ITA)
7. Giulia Tanno (SUI)
8. Michelle Rageth (SUI)
1. Dylan Deschamps (CAN)
2. Daniel Bacher (AUT)
3. Birk Ruud (NOR)
4. Troy Podmilsak (USA)
5. Sebastian Schjerve (NOR)
6. Elias Syrjä (FIN)
7. Kuura Koivisto (FIN)
8. Miro Tabanelli (ITA)
9. Tim Sivignon (FRA)
10. Andri Ragettli (SUI)
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View the complete results from Big Air Chur at fis-ski.com.
The FIS World Cup Big Air circuit continues in December with an event planned at the permanent Big Air ramp in Beijing, China. After a slow season last year that saw only two Big Airs at the World Cup level, this season’s schedule is much busier, with a total of four stops planned.