The big news on the contest front this season: the LAAX OPEN, previously a snowboard-only event, will include freeskiing in the program this coming winter. For skiers, it's a long-awaited homecoming to the mountain that once hosted nine editions of the European Freeski Open.
For freeskiers of a certain age, the European Freeski Open in Laax is the stuff of legend. A top-notch slopestyle course, an A-list of competitors from around the world, parties until the morning hours in the Riders Palace... for years, the EFO was a staple of the scene, until funding issues ended its run in 2016. Now, after a seven-year break, we can celebrate the return of world-class freeski competition to the slopes of the Crap Sogn Gion.
Laax´s pristine snowparks have long ranked among the very best in Europe. Photo: Philipp Ruggli
Once an independent event (ah, the good old days) the Laax Open slopestyle will be held as an official stop on the FIS World Cup circuit. There's just a freeski slopestyle event scheduled for 2023, since the freeski halfpipe circuit will be otherwise occupied in Calgary, Canada. However, we're keeping our fingers crossed for a freeski halfpipe event in Laax in the years to come!
Blast from the past: the 2011 European Freeski Open finals, courtesy of DowndaysTV.
Kelly Sildaru throws down at the last European Freeski Open in 2016. Photo: Stone
Men's qualifications are scheduled for Thursday, 19 January 2023, with women's qualis on the following day. Men's and women's finals will both go down on Sunday, 22 January.
Of course, Downdays will be on hand to witness freeskiing's triumphant return to the contest landscape in Laax. We'll see you there!