The fifth and final FIS Freeski World Cup slopestyle of the season is coming to Silvaplana, Switzerland, March 29-30 and U.S. Freeski Rookie Team member Mac Forehand (Winhall, Vt.) is gunning to close out his season with the overall title this coming weekend. (Meanwhile, six Vermont-based ski racers took podiums at the U.S. Nationals this past weekend in Waterville Valley, N.H.)
[See our interview with Mac Forehand when he was just 13]
Via Andrew Gauthier/US Ski and Snowboard
“It feels crazy to be in the running for the crystal globe,” said Forehand. “I would have never thought I would be on the podium at any event his year. If I could take home the globe this season it would be an honor, although I’m not trying to set any expectations going into the final event. I’ve never been to Silvaplana before and I’m excited to see the creative course they build year after year.“
Going into this weekend, Forehand has a comfortable lead of 225 overall points, versus second-ranked Canadian Max Moffat, at 203 points.
Forehand has had quite the year earning his first-ever World Cup podium with a second-place finish in Stubai, Austria, to kick-off the slopestyle season in November. In addition, he earned his first-ever World Cup victory at the Mammoth Mountain, California, World Cup just a couple weeks ago. Forehand will be coming in hot off his Mammoth win as the World Cup slopestyle leader.
Forehand is not the only U.S. Ski & Snowboard athlete looking to close out his season on a high note. 2019 X Games gold medalist and U.S. Freeski Pro Team member Alex Hall (Salt Lake City, Utah) has also had an impressive season. In addition to his X Games slopestyle victory and second-place finish at Dew Tour slopestyle, Hall collected two additional World Cup podiums and is sitting sixth in the slopestyle cup standings. In addition, Hall, who raised in Switzerland, will be looking to defend the top spot of the podium from the 2018 Silvaplana World Cup where his creative approach blossomed on the very unique course in Switzerland.
Joining Forehand and Hall on course in Switzerland are a batch of Olympic medalists including Joss Christensen (Park City, Utah), Nick Goepper (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) and Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, Colo.). In addition, U.S. Freeski Pro Team member Colby Stevenson (Park City, Utah) and Americans Ryan Stevenson (Washington, N.J.) and Kiernan Fagan (Brownfield, Maine) are set to compete. Fagan has podiumed at the only two World Cups he has entered this season. He will be looking to continue that perfect record at the final stop of the season.
For the Women, U.S. Freeski Pro Team member Caroline Claire (Manchester Center, Vt.) and U.S. Rookie Team members Marin Hamill (Park City, Utah) and Rell Harwood (Park City, Utah) are ready to compete. Claire has had a strong season and is currently sitting in tenth-place in the slopestyle cup standings. She will look to close out her season with her first podium since the Cardrona, New Zealand World Cup big air in September.
“I have not competed in Silvaplana before, so I’m very excited to see how this course plays out,” said Claire. “The World Cups in Silvaplana over the last few seasons have gone off, so I’m hyped to see what everyone can do on this creative course. Also, it would mean so much to grab a podium at this last event. This season has not really panned out as I would have hoped, so to come full circle from a podium at the first world cup of the season in New Zealand and then to find success in Silvaplana would be awesome.”
The 2018/19 FIS World Cup season has been full of excitement, milestones, and world class competition. Be sure to tune in as members of the U.S. Freeski Team drop in to close out their season on a positive note and hopefully crown a slopestyle FIS World Cup Champion.
Photo courtesy US Ski and Snowboard