The biannual FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships returns this year in Kreischberg, Austria. Between January 14-25, Canada will send 21 national team and four provincial team athletes to compete in five different events for world supremacy.
The World Championships date back to 1986 when they were first held in Tignes, France.
Aerials - January 14-15
The aerials competition will be a two-day event and will feature three Canadians taking part. They will be led by 2013 World Championship silver medallist, Travis Gerrits, along with Olivier Rochon and Sabrina Guerin.
Men - Travis Gerrits (Milton, ON), Olivier Rochon (Montreal, QC)
Women - Sabrina Guerin (Laval, QC)
Moguls - January 18-19
The Canadian mogul skiers will compete in two different events on back-to-back days.
In 2013, Kingsbury took gold and the now retired Alex Bilodeau captured silver. Kingsbury, the current FIS points leader, is coming off two straight single moguls World Cup victories and will be joined on the hill by Philippe Marquis, Marc-Antoine Gagnon, Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh and Kerrian Chunlaud.
On the women’s side, Justine Dufour-Lapointe captured bronze in 2013 at the age of 18. She returns as the Olympic champion and current FIS points leader along with sisters Chloe and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, and Andi Naude.
Men - Mikael Kingsbury (Deux-Montagnes, QC), Philippe Marquis (Quebec City, QC), Marc-Antoine Gagnon (Terrebonne, QC), Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (Quebec City, QC), Kerrian Chunlaud (Ste-Foy, QC)
Women - Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Andi Naude (Penticton, BC)
In 2013, Kingsbury and Bilodeau inverted their moguls finish for the dual moguls event. Bilodeau walked away with gold for his third consecutive world title and Kingsbury captured silver. Kingsbury is coming off a dual moguls World Cup win in Deer Valley and will be joined by teammate Philippe Marquis, who captured the Ruka dual moguls World Cup in December. Marc-Antoine Gagnon and Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh join the pair.
Chloe Dufour-Lapointe enter this competition as the defending world champion. Chloe will be joined by sisters Justine and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe. Andi Naude and veteran Audrey Robichaud round out the group.
Men - Mikael Kingsbury (Deux-Montagnes, QC), Philippe Marquis (Quebec City, QC), Marc-Antoine Gagnon (Terrebonne, QC), Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (Quebec City, QC)
Women - Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Audrey Robichaud (Quebec City, QC), Andi Naude (Penticton, BC)
Slopestyle - January 20-21
With the Winter X Games (January 21-25) crossing over this year with the World Championships, the highest ranked halfpipe and slopestyle skier will be absent this year in Kreischberg to compete against the world’s best at the X Games. This will allow several provincial athletes to step in and gain some invaluable experience in their place.
“This year’s Freestyle Skiing World Championship, which are now jointly held with snowboard, is a stepping stone for our athletes’ Olympic journey,” said David Mirota, High Performance Director. “The spectrum of a World Championship provides the closest feeling and environment to an Olympic Games for our athletes and coaches. For our upcoming Provincial and Institute level athletes benefiting from this major experience this year, banking these extra key lessons earlier in their careers will only enhance their development.”
Leading the way will be 2014 Olympian Yuki Tsubota. She will be joined by developmental athletes Reid McEachran, Taylor Wilson, Kristaps Thompson and Ontario Provincial Team athlete, Shondra Charbonneau
Men - Reid McEachran (Oakville, ON), Taylor Wilson (Whistler, BC), Kristaps Thompson (Montreal, QC)
Women - Yuki Tsubota (Whistler, BC), Shondra Charbonneau (Brockville, ON - Ontario Provincial Team, OHPSI Athlete)
The following slopestyle athletes have been invited to X Games:
Men - Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (Quebec City, QC), Alex Bellemare (Saint-Boniface, QC), Evan McEachran (Oakville, ON)
Women - Kaya Turksi (Montreal, QC), Kim Lamarre (Lac-Beauport, QC), Dara Howell (Huntsville, ON), Anouk Purnell-Faniel (Quebec City, QC), Nikki Blackall (Barrie, ON)
Halfpipe - January 21-22
Olympians Matt Margetts and Keltie Hansen lead a talented group of halfpipe skiers including Kris Atkinson, Cassie Sharp, and Winsport athletes Brendan Mackay, Neil Jeffries and Megan Warrener.
Men - Kris Atkinson (Calgary, AB), Matt Margetts (Penticton, BC), Brendan Mackay (Calgary, AB - Alberta Winsport Team), Neil Jeffries (Red Deer, AB - Alberta Winsport Team)
Women - Keltie Hansen (Edmonton, AB), Cassie Sharpe (Comox, BC), Megan Warrener (Sylvan Lake, AB - Alberta Winsport Team)
The following halfpipe athletes have been invited to X Games:
Men - Mike Riddle (Sherwood Park, AB), Justin Dorey (Vernon, BC), Simon d’Artois (Whistler, BC), Noah Bowman (Calgary, AB)
Women - Roz Groenewoud (Calgary, AB)
For details and to read the complete article, visit the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association Website: FreestyleSki.com