Next week slopestyle and half-pipe make a return to the 2020/21 FIS Snowboard World Cup Tour at the LAAX Open. Over 200 riders from 25 countries will be competing at the Open between January 19-23, with riders and organisers following all COVID guidelines to ensure the safety of all involved; with fans and spectators being limited to viewing the action through online channels.
Countdown for the LAAX OPEN 2021
The LAAX OPEN 2021 takes place from 19-23 January 2021, kicking off the FIS Snowboard World Cup Tour 2020/2021 in the disciplines Slopestyle and Halfpipe and is endowed with 140,000 CHF prize money. Top-notch, action-pumped sport and lots of excitement are guaranteed at the contests taking place around the Crap Sogn Gion in the women’s and men’s competitions. This year, audiences can only follow Europe’s most renowned snowboard contest in the media.
Last weekend, the freestyle snowboarders opened the World Cup season with a Big Air at Kreischberg/AUT. The crunch result on the podium also promises pure anticipation for the first Slopestyle World Cup this winter. The Kreischberg winners – veteran Max Parrot/CAN, LAAX OPEN Champion 2017, and shooting star Zoi Sadowski-Synott/NZL – are on their way to LAAX, as are Anna Gasser/AUT, Sven Thorgren/SWE, Mons Roisland/NOR (all three were on the podium), where they are among the favourites for a place in the final.
While the slopes and parks are currently open to everyone, the Snowpark LAAX shapers are expanding the pro-line especially for the OPEN. A total of six features will challenge the creativity of snowboard freestylers during the contest, including jumps with up to 18 metres of airtime.
The Olympic-sized superpipe (the only one in the world in permanent operation) waits enthroned in all its glory at Crap Sogn Gion mountain. 200 metres long and 20 metres wide with 7-metre-high walls, it is a royal treat for every pipe pro.
Of those, some are already training in preparation for the first World Cup of the season. Among others, Queralt Castellet/SPA, Maddie Mastro/USA, Leilani Ettel/GER, Andre Höflich/GER, Pat Burgener/SUI and Jan Scherrer/SUI, as well as the LAAX OPEN Winner of 2019 and 2020, Scotty James/AUS, who stands to be the first to win the renowned Halfpipe competition in LAAX three times in a row. Several of the greats have achieved this two times in a row: Kelly Clark/USA, Kevin Pearce/USA, Peetu Piiroinen/FIN and Iouri Podladtchikov/SUI, who for the first time since the OPEN events in LAAX began (2005), is no longer causing a sensation as an active contest rider.
Instead, two different Olympic gold medallists and LAAX OPEN champions as Podladtchikov are on the entry list, poised to stomp their stuff in the LAAX superpipe: Chloe Kim and Shaun White (both USA).
The fact that they and over 200 riders from 25 countries will be coming to the LAAX OPEN from 19-23 January 2021 is due to the pre-Olympic season. The athlete’s urge to compete after a long break and, above all, the perfect set-up that LAAX has always offered, even in times of the coronavirus.
Due to the Covid-19 protection measures, no on-site spectator crowds will line the Halfpipe at the LAAX OPEN 2021 to marvel at the riders. However, there is ample opportunity to follow the action around the globe on digital and social media channels, as well as on classic TV. All the information for this can be found at laax.com/open
The Hall-of-Fame can be downloaded here.
The list of registered riders for the LAAX OPEN 2021 can be found here.