In little less than a month, from December 19th to 23rd 2017, Font-Romeu ski resort in the Pyrenees 2000 will host the slopestyle stage of the Freestyle skiing World Cup! Some of the best riders of this season will meet in the Catalan Pyrenees and face each other for a very last chance to qualify into the Olympic Games of Pyeong Chang 2018.
The best athletes in the world (a hundred riders in total) will be present. On the French side, Tess Ledeux, Coline Ballet-Baz, Lou Barin, Antoine Adelisse and Vincent Maharavo answered the invitation and will reach for the medal in the XXL course (3 Big Air of 20 to 25 metres and 2 slides).
What is slopestyle ?
Looking into the official website on the competition, you find this explanation : “Slopestyle is a winter sports discipline that can be practiced both skiing and snowboarding. It is a succession of acrobatic and aerial figures on a specially crafted downhill run. Slopestyle is one of the most popular disciplines and it is part of the Olympics since the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Thus, the World Cup in Font Romeu Pyrenees 2000 is part of the qualification process for 2018. The skis used in slopestyle are double spatula, allowing to ski reverse as well as forward. The slope layout consists of different series of modules in snow or metal: bumps that are used as ski-jumps, ramps along which athletes can slide, or obstacles on which they can make various figures before fallong back on the snow slope.”
Meet the French slopestyle heroes
Tess Ledeux is only 16 years old and yet, she already represents the future (or shall we say the present?) of French skiing. She’s the first French girl to enter the X Games in slopestyle skiing, she’s also the winner of the Silver medal during the Aspen X on January 29th 2017 as well as in the Oslo X Games. X Games are THE reference when talking about extreme sports and let’s just say that they found their new princess: the cousin of Kevin Rolland (who won Bronze medal during the Sochi Games for his halfpipe performance).
On March 19th 2017, Tess Ledeux surprised us once more by becoming the new World Champion thanks to an incredible second run with an 85,60 mark! She did an XXL worth winter to which you can add a first place to the Sosh Big Air on October 7th 2017. The skier from La Plagne who was a stranger only a year ago has become a real reference in her generation and one of our best chance at a French medal in the Pyeong Chang Games. In Font-Romeu Pyrenees 2000, Tess Ledeux is the one you should be looking for!
Meet another freestyle skiing princess and a graduate from Sciences Po, Coline Ballet-Baz, who’s also eyeing the slopestyle Olympic Games of 2018. The girl who started freestyle at the age of 17 has taken a huge leap over the last years and finished 3rd during the Sosh Big Air in Annecy beginning of October. Her successes include a third place in the Slopestyle skiing World Cup 2017 -and first French woman, and other podiums. In March 2017 she ended up close to the finals of the Sierra Nevada (Spain) World Cup with a 9th position. She was selected for the Sochi OG in 2014 but couldn’t participate since she broke her collarbone. After this mishappen, she’s more than determined to keep performing in freestyle skiing.
“A little while ago you would start freestyle with your friends. Now, there are more and more associations and clubs. The young generation can start from 10/12 years old. It used to seem like a dangerous discipline but now not as much, parents tend to encourage their kids into freestyle.” Coline Ballet-Baz said to VICE Sports on April 18th 2017. « There are also more and more girls and of higher and higher level! You can see more hard tricks. Women freestyle is going the right direction even though there’s still a gap between men and women -even more so since the guys level is exploding too.”
Coline Ballet-Baz is up for the show in Font-Romeu Pyrenees 2000, from December 19th to 23rd!
18 years old Lou Barin is also a powder snow performer, she proved it during the Youth Winter Olympic Games 2016 in Norway by reaching 2nd place. She also showed her skills in the SFR Freestyle Tour of Vars finishinf 2nd place again. She already tried her skis in World Cup events and became France slopestyle skiing champion last March 29th 2017, beating Tess Ledeux. The “France” title will be an interesting battle in Font-Romeu… and the young Val Thorens rider will go in confidently.
Antoine Adelisse is 21 years old and already has an impressive experience of ski runs. Winner of the SFR Freestyle Tour 2011 in Slopestyle, during the stages of Alpe d’Huez and La Clusaz, the man from La Plagne also took part in the 2014 Sotchi OG and doesn’t count the events he participated in in 2017: 2nd place during SFR Freestyle Tour in La Clusaz, 2nd place during Myrkdalen-Voss (Norway) World Cup. Antoine Adelisse also participated in the Aspen X Games and was France Champion in slopestyle in Font-Romeu. Could this be a good omen for he World Cup?
Vincent Maharavo (20 years old) is considered the young prodige of slopstyle skiing. He started with alpine skiing and ice hockey before he had a revelation during a freestyle skiing run in Font-Romeu he was watching. He told l’Equipe in January 2017 : “I thought to myself: this is wicked! At a time I was fully into hockey, I asked my mom my first freestyle skis for my 12th birthday!”
Since then, Vincent trained hard and gained technical skills in slopestyle. He will definitely have his chance in the freestyle skiing World Cup of Font-Romeu!
Monday, 18th of December:
Arrival of the teams.
Tuesday, 19th of December:
Training Day 1 in the snow park of La Calme
From 12.15 pm to 4 pm.
Wednesday, 20th of December:
Training Day 2 in the snow park of La Calme.
From 8.45 am to 1 pm.
Thursday, 21st of December:
8.30 am: Men Qualifications
Full day runs until 3.30 pm
Friday, 22nd of December:
9.30 am: Women Qualifications
Full day runs until 12.30 pm
Saturday, 23rd of December:
12 pm: Training session men and women
1 pm – 2.30 pm: Finals of Font-Romeu World Cup
2.40 pm: official podiums of this World Cup stage.