Mac Forehand competes in Big Air at the 2023 U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Triple 1800s both forward and switch boosted Mac Forehand to the top of the podium. Chad Buchholz/FIS Freestyle

Event News


World Cup in Colorado

Mac Forehand & Tess Ledeux win Copper Mountain Big Air

By: Ethan Stone December 16, 2023

The third World Cup Big Air contest of the 2023/24 season went down today at Copper Mountain, Colorado.

It was actually the first Big Air of the season to be held on a mountain, following city big airs in Chur and Beijing. Competitors in both the men’s and women’s fields took advantage of near-perfect conditions to deliver a top-class performance that was a competition in every sense of the word.


Women: Gremaud and Ledeux face off

The women’s contest quickly turned into a showdown between the two leading women in Big Air, Mathilde Gremaud and Tess Ledeux.

Tess set the bar high early, stomping a left double cork 1620 safety—a trick that gave her some trouble in Beijing—perfectly on her first try for the highest score of the day, a whopping 95.75. She backed it up with a clean rightside double cork 1080 safety on her second hit for a score in the mid-80s, and seemed to have the gold medal on lock.

Mathilde Gremaud, however, had something to say about that. After lacing up a clean left carve double cork 1260 safety and an equally solid switch left double 1080 safety, Mathilde upped the ante on her third jump, grabbing tail on the switch double for a score of 93.75 and vaulting ahead of Tess on the scoreboard.

Needing something big to wrestle back the gold, Tess popped to switch and unleashed a flawless switch left double cork 1260 safety, a trick we haven’t seen from her since the X Games last year. With a score of 93.25, it was enough to boost her comfortably back into the gold medal position.

Tess Ledeux competes in Big Air at the 2023 U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colorado
After Mathilde Gremaud won the first three WC events of the season, Tess Ledeux finally broke her streak in Copper. Buchholz/FIS

“I was so nervous,” Tess said. “I took the decision [to do the switch 12] just 30 seconds before jumping.” It was her first time hitting the jump switch today, she added.

Third place went to Scotland’s Kirsty Muir, who after landing a left double cork 1440 clean, crashed hard on her right double cork 1080. She looked shaken after the crash, but returned for her third jump and was able to get the right double to her feet.

With a clean right carve double cork 1080 japan and a left double 12, Sandra Eie missed the podium in fourth place, while Giulia Tanno’s left double 1080 inside out grab helped her to fifth. The lone American in the finals, Rell Harwood showed that she’s got a mean double cork 1260 mute of her own, but needs a reliable second trick to contend for the podium.

Women's podium at the 2023 Copper Mountain World Cup Big Air
The women's podium: Tess Ledeux on top, flanked by Mathilde Gremaud in second and Kirsty Muir in third. Buchholz/FIS
Tess Ledeux's winning tricks. FIS Freestyle

Men: Podium Pogo

If the women’s contest was a showdown between two top competitors, the men’s contest was a showdown between most of the field. The podium changed multiple times throughout the contest, but when the dust cleared, it was American Mac Forehand on top.

Tim Sivignon of France, who we don’t always see in the finals of a Big Air event, kicked things off in a big way on the first hit of the contest with a monster left triple 1980 mute for a score of 93.5. The only rider who could match him on the first run was Italian Miro Tabanelli, whose impossibly clean switch left double cork 1980 blunt netted the day’s high score of 95. Both riders put down clean 1800 variations on their second hits to stay atop the podium, with a switch left double bio 1800 mute from Tim and a a forward left double 1800 stale from Miro.

Meanwhile, Andri Ragettli climbed into third, following up on his switch left double bio 1800 buick with a whirlwind forward left double 1980 stale. Birk Ruud, after an uncharacteristic crash on his first hit, made good with a huge switch left triple 1980 mute that scored a 94.25.

Miro Tabanelli at the 2023 World Cup Big Air in Copper Mountain, Colorado
There are a ton of interesting tricks being thrown in Big Air right now, but Miro Tabanelli's jaw-dropping switch double 1980 blunt might be the most impossibly clean of the bunch. Buchholz/FIS

Things came to a head on the third and final jump. Birk landed his signature left double bio 1800 mute, launching him into second place, while Andri improved the score of his switch bio 18 slightly. But it was Mac Forehand who vaulted into the top spot, following up on his second-run left triple 1800 mute with the same trick switch on his final hit.

The final podium: Mac in first, Miro Tabanelli in second and Birk Ruud in third, with Andri Ragettli missing the podium by a half a point.

“It’s actually my first-ever World Cup Big Air podium,” said an elated Mac Forehand after the contest. “I’ve done well in slopestyles in the past, and obviously X Games Big Air and stuff. It just means so much to get another World Cup win again. We battled out there today, and I’m stoked I got my tricks.”

“I learned that forward triple 18 in the spring last year,” he added. “I haven’t really done it a ton, and every time I do it, it’s absolutely terrifying. I’m just glad to put it to my feet and that’s one of my biggest accomplishments I’ve had in the last couple of years, learning that trick and putting it down in contests.”

After outside-the-box tricks helped determine the podium at Big Air Beijing, the judges’ pendulum seemed to swing back towards conventionality in Copper. Alex Hall put down the two tricks that helped him win in Beijing—right double cork 1080 bringback to 900 and switch tail butter double cork 1440 opp japan—but somehow managed to score eight points lower on the latter trick, despite no apparent flaws.

Matej Svancer's tokyo drift cork 180 pretzel at the 2023 World Cup Big Air in Copper Mountain, Colorado
Matej Svancer tokyo drifted more cleanly than ever, but the novelty might be wearing off in the judges' booth. Buchholz/FIS

Matej Svancer showed off his game-changing opp-carve Tokyo drift cork 180 bringback with an immaculately tweaked japan grab, but the novelty seemed to have worn off a bit for the judges: The trick that scored a 92.75 in Beijing was worth three points less in Copper. Never content to stop innovating, Matej again showed us something new on his final hit, a nollie left double cork 900 japan bringback that scored a 93.5.

The Big Air circuit now goes into hibernation until March, when a new stop in Tignes, France will close out the season from 13-16 March 2024.

The men's podium at the 2023 U.S. Grand Prix Big Air in Copper Mountain, Colorado
The men's podium: Mac Forehand, Miro Tabanelli and Birk Ruud. Buchholz/FIS
Mac Forehand's winning tricks. FIS Freestyle