LAAX is hosting the European Freeski Open for the ninth time, and freeskiers from across the globe will be gathering for this open yet elite championship event.
LAAX, Switzerland, March 2, 2016 – LAAX is hosting the European Freeski Open for the ninth time, and freeskiers from across the globe will be gathering for this open yet elite championship event. Newcomers will take to the slopes alongside Olympics, challengers will meet champions. All of them will rock the innovative slopestyle course as they compete to reach the finals, scheduled for March 12, and take home the biggest part of the CHF 30,000 prize money, AFP Gold points and championship titles.
The open format has proven popular – all the starting places have been taken. A total of 150 riders from 15 countries have registered for the open rounds. A mix of competitors from North America, Scandinavia, Great Britain, France, the Alps and Japan are getting ready for their run out on the slopestyle course. Training begins on March 9, followed by the men’s qualification on March 10, while the women and the invited riders join the contest at the semi-final stage on March 11.
The rider to beat for the women is Estonian Kelly Sildaru, slopestyle gold medal winner at the 2016 X-Games. The 14-year-old is now the firm favourite ahead of a strong field of women who are entering the semi-final, including Giulia Tanno from Switzerland. Also confirmed are 2015 EFO winner Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen and 2014 EFO winner Johanne Killi, both from Norway, and 2011 EFO winner Emma Dahlström from Sweden. The three Scandinavians are used to smile from the podium, but are also well aware that stiff competition can emerge from out of the blue during the preliminary round of the EFO. Anyone can enter the open, but only the best five make it to the final.
But the curse of the collarbone that the established riders seem to be under in the run up to the event has returned this season – 2008 EFO winner Russ Henshaw will not be able to participate this year due to a broken clavicle, the same injury that kept Andri Ragettli on the sidelines in 2015. But Andri is fit again for the 9th edition of this prestigious event and hopes to gain his first podium finish at his home event. The 17-year-old from Flims is certainly in with a good chance after putting in a strong performance at the X-Games in Aspen at the end of January to finish 6th in the slopestyle final. Further favourites for a place among the best 10 men in the final are his Swiss team colleagues Fabian Bösch, who won gold in the Big Air event at the Aspen X-Games and silver in the same event at the Oslo X-Games in 2016, Luca Schuler, Kai Mahler and Jonas Hunziker.
The riders from Switzerland will be up against US skiers Gus Kenworthy – who won silver at the 2014 Olympics and is currently ranked number one in the AFP overall world ranking list – and 2015 EFO runner-up Noah Wallace as well as James Woods from Great Britain. Øystein Bråten will also be there, and always guarantees good vibes and cool tricks. Since the EFO returned to the event calendar in 2014, he has been a regular on the podium – at international events and in LAAX. He embodies what LAAX is all about – freestyle, lifestyle and fun – and will be showing how it’s done in LAAX from March 9-12, 2016. LAAXroots.
Anyone can enter for free the sporting events on the Crap Sogn Gion – and this is also the case for the special music events at the rocksresort and the Indy Bar. Tickets for Urban Friday with DJ Jerez & Friends at the Riders Palace on March 11, 2016 are available on the door, and tickets for the final live main act of this years European Freeski Open “Rakede live & Funkanomics” on March 12, 2016 are also on advance sale at starticket.ch.
The programme and open rider list are attached to this e-mail. Further information about the event can be found online at europeanfreeskiopen.laax.com.