Travel & Local
Tips & Tricks
How To Snowboarding
How To Surfing
How To Skateboarding
Slopestyle season set to start at legendary Laax Open
Impression from the second training session at the Laax Open 2021 FIS Snowboard slopestyle World Cup, on January 18, 2021.
: Buchholz / FIS Snowboard
Monday, January 18, 2021
One of the most anticipated weeks on any self-respecting snowboarder’s calendar is upon us, as once again a heavy collection of the world’s best riders have descended upon Switzerland for the legendary Laax Open, where the 2020/21 FIS Snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe World Cup seasons will finally get underway.
The atmosphere around this year’s event is understandably a little bit different than what everyone has come to expect from the
over the course its long history, with the celebratory festival vibe of years past put on pause. Instead, a huge amount of time, energy, and infrastructure has been put in place to ensure the riders on hand are able to get down to business in the safest and most secure way possible at this all-important Olympic qualifying event.
Still, while we won’t see the iconic Saturday night images of thousands of people lining the halfpipe while the Galaaxy building looms in the background, what we absolutely will see is a great majority of the biggest names in competition snowboarding, riding at the pinnacle of their abilities at one of the world’s greatest venues - and for that we should all be thankful.
We’ll start things off today by looking forward to the slopestyle competition, where men’s qualifications are going down on Tuesday, men’s and women’s semifinals on Wednesday, and finals on Friday, beginning at 13:15 CET.
Jamie Anderson leads supremely talented women’s field
If the USA’s
is in the mix, she seems to be the de facto ‘one to beat’ when it comes to FIS Snowboard slopestyle World Cups.
Dating back to her World Cup debut back in the 2012/13 season, Anderson has seven wins in 11 World Cups entered, and has only missed the podium once in all those competitions. Last season Anderson took the win at her sole World Cup entered on home soil at Mammoth Mountain, while also winning at X Games Aspen and at the Burton US Open, proving definitively that at 30 years old, the two-time reigning Olympic slopestyle champ is still very much the premier slopestyle rider on the planet.
The last time Anderson dropped in on Laax was in 2016/17 where she finished in third, and you can bet she’ll be looking to improve on that result in this go-around. If she wants the win, however, she’s going to have to work for it, as a collection of the greats from around the world are also on the start list and looking for a big kick-off to an uncertain slopestyle season.
Fresh off a big air World Cup win a little over a week ago in Kreischberg (AUT) is
(NZL), the reigning slopestyle World Champion and 2019 Burton US Open champ. The 19 year-old Kiwi showed off her deep bag of jump tricks there in Austria at the Park & Pipe season opener, and if she can put it together on the rails as well she’ll be tough to match in Laax.
Back in Laax for the first time since a disappointing 11th-place finish in 2018/19 is
(AUT), who finished third on home soil at the Kreischberg big air. Second to Anderson at the US Open last season, Gasser has all the tools to take top spot here in Laax.
The Japanese trio of
all looked exceptional in Kreischberg to start the season, with all three making finals and with 16 year-old Murase finishing second to Sadowski-Synnott. Iwabuchi, meanwhile, finished second behind
(USA) in Laax last season, while Onitsuka will be looking to make an impression in her first slopestyle World Cup since the 2018/19 season.
Unfortunately, reigning Laax Open champ
- along with the majority of the US slopestyle national team - will not be on hand in Laax after two members of the team tested positive for covid-19 following the competition in Kreischberg. While no other positive cases beyond those initial two athletes have turned up, EU safety measures in place require that the US squad remains in quarantine in Austria until it’s safe for all members to leave the country.
Also to watch out for on the women’s side is reigning slopestyle crystal globe winner
(GBR) (who finished third in Laax last season and hit the podium in all four slopestyle World Cups she entered in 2019/20,) along with riders like 2020 X Games silver medallist
(CAN), the super-stylish
(USA), 2017 Laax Open winner
(FIN), and Switzerland’s own
, who has announced that this week’s competition in Laax will be the last of her 13-year World Cup career.
Sebastien Toutant looking for repeat of last season’s Laax magic
In last season’s preview of the Laax competition we probably said the same thing we’ll say here and now - the field of 60 riders on hand here in Switzerland for the men’s competition is about as heavy as it could be without the US team on hand, with easily a dozen riders one could point to as a favourite.
The one rider who was able to rise above all others and take the win last season was Canada’s
, and with his nearly unequaled combination of power, technical capability, style and consistency, the 28 year-old could very well be the one to put your money on again here in 2021. After missing the later half of 2019/20 with an injury, the reigning Olympic big air gold medalist and six-time X Games medalist is back in fighting form and looking for more magic in Laax this week.
Some of the biggest pressure Toutant is likely to face could come from a pair of riders also flying the flag with the maple leaf, as heavyweights
are on hand and battle-ready. Parrot is fresh off a gutsy win at the Kreischberg big air World Cup (where both Toutant and McMorris were unable to qualify for finals), and his clinical precision could be a difference maker on the long, challenging Laax Course.
McMorris, meanwhile, is merely one of the most progressive snowboarders of his generation, and while his one and only World Cup slopestyle win came over a decade ago, his two Olympic Winter Games bronze medals, two world championships silvers, 22 X Games medals, and innumerable other accolades earned since that time help to tell the bigger story of the iconic rider.
Speaking of things that are innumerable, beyond the Canadians there’s a whole lot more firepower to watch out for on the men’s side.
The Scandinavians will be well represented this week, with
(NOR) leading the way. The pair finished second and third behind
in Kreischberg, respectively, and while both clearly love it on the big jumps, both are more than happy to get down on the rails as well.
is another weapon on the Swedish side, while the inimitable Fritdjof Tischendorf and tech-master
add a couple of heavy resumes to the Norwegian roster.
Then there’s the Japanese team, lead by reigning slopestyle crystal globe winner
and bolstered by the return to action of
. Along with the likes of
, the Japanese team has perhaps the deepest and most skilled set of riders from top to bottom of any here in Laax beyond the Canadians.
And don’t forget the host Swiss squad, with riders like
all looking to make good on home soil.
Going deeper into the men’s start list you’ll find names like
Niek Van Der Velden
(NDL)…needless to say, there’s too many good riders at the 2021 Laax Open to name here, meaning that it’s going to be a good time in Laax over the coming days.
***UPDATE: This is to inform you that two members of the Canadian delegation have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Laax Open, which is hosting FIS Snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle competitions this week. At this point, the Canadian men's slopestyle team has been put into isolation and will not participate in the Laax Open. In agreement with the FIS Event Task Force, all competitions will proceed as scheduled.***
Laax Open slopestyle World Cup official website (including livestream for finals)
Laax Open slopestyle World Cup data page (programme, start lists, live scoring, results)
Photos (FIS SmugMug)
(International Ski Federation)
Follow FIS Snowboard events on their
Laax Open 2021 FIS Snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe World Cup teaser | FIS Snowboard
Jackson Baker & Kobie Enright Claim Victories at the Port Stephens Pro
PHOTO ALERT: Letícia Bufoni gives a tour of her revamped home skate park
Update from World Rookie Tour Snowboard - Coming up next: Austria & Japan
In Transition - On Location with Cj Collins
All Day SJ - Episode 6
FIS World Cup - SS & HP - LAAX OPEN 2021
Join us on:
FIS World Cup - SS & HP - LAAX OPEN 2021
Fridtjof Sæther Tischendorf
Laax Snowpark - Switzerland /
International Ski Federation (FIS)
Copyright © 2021 BRS [BOARDRIDING.COM] Home to board sports. All rights reserved.