Slopestyle season started on a high note! Monster Energy congratulates Birk Ruud on taking first place in Men’s Freeski Slopestyle in Stubai, Austria, on Saturday. At the 2021/22 FIS Freeski Slopestyle World Cup season opener, the 21-year-old from Oslo, Norway, took the win in a battle against the sport’s top riders. He was joined on the podium by fellow Norwegian rider, 23-year-old Ferdinand Dahl in third place.
Also putting on a strong performance, 30-year-old Sarah Hoefflin from Geneva, Switzerland claimed second place in the highly contested Women’s Freeski Slopestyle final.
As the official 2021/22 FIS Freeski Slopestyle World Cup season opener, this weekend’s contest took place at the legendary Stubai Glacier resort in the Austrian mountains. Broadcast live on ORF1 and Eurosport1 television and via livestream at skiworldcup.live, the event featured the world elite of Freeski Slopestyle.
The stakes were high with only three Slopestyle World Cup competitions until the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in February 2022. Riders were looking to claim World Cup season points and a total 50,000 CHF in prize money.
In the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle final on Saturday, the 16 qualified riders hailed from Austria, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, as well as the United Kingdom and United States. The perfectly sculpted Snowpark Stubai Zoo provided the backdrop for world-class Slopestyle riding, offering a plethora of rails, jib obstacles and a section featuring tall jumps for big airs.
Amid perfect weather conditions on the glacier, Monster Energy’s Birk Ruud dropped in as a top contender and previous 2019/20 FIS World Cup champion in the Big Air discipline. In October, the 21-year-old from Oslo had already claimed third place in the season’s first FIS Freeski Big Air competition.
Saturday provided a chance for Ruud to demonstrate his well-rounded Slopestyle skills. On his very first run in the final, Ruud stomped a perfect routine including switch left double 1620 mute grab, right double 1440 safety grab. In the rail section, he finessed a left 270 lipslide to 450 out, right 450 disaster to forward, switch on backslide and highly technical switch left 450 disaster for 87.60 points and the win ahead of Canada’s Max Moffatt in second place.
“My day’s been really good. My practice wasn’t that good, but I managed to lace up and find my inner focus in the comp. I’m super happy. Really stoked to see all the boys out there killing it. It’s amazing,” said Monster Energy’s Ruud upon winning the FIS Freeski Slopestyle World Cup event in Stubai. “I’m going to celebrate this one and then get focused on the next one. There’s always a competition coming up, so I got to keep my head on straight and stay grounded.”
Saturday’s win marks the second World Cup Slopestyle victory in Ruud’s career. The Norwegian began competing at the international level at a young age. In 2016, the rookie pro won Freeski Slopestyle Gold at the Winter Youth Olympics at Lillehammer. Since then, he has emerged as a top competitor and claimed the 2020 FIS World Cup Big Air Crystal Globe trophy. Ruud also has four X Games medals (2 gold, 2 silver) to his name.
Also claiming a podium spot, 23-year-old Monster Energy rider Ferdinand Dahl from Norway took his technical bag of tricks to the downhill course. A selection of highly advanced rail tricks, including a blender switch left 270 lipslide to 270 out into a right-side superfed on the S-rail combo earned Dahl a score of 86.06 points on his second run for third place. This marks the ninth podium of Dahl’s World Cup career.
In Saturday’s Women’s Freeski Slopestyle event, Swiss team rider Sarah Hoefflin dropped in as a podium favorite after finishing the previous FIS World Cup season in third place in Slopestyle. In October 2021, the 30-year-old from Geneva claimed second place in Women’s Freeski Big Air at the FIS World Cup in Chur, Switzerland, in front of a hometown crowd.
The top eight riders in the final represented Austria, Canada, Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and United States. As the session in Stubai got underway, Olympic gold medalist Hoefflin proved her consistency and penchant for technical tricks on the stacked downhill course.
On her first run, Hoefflin put together a perfect routine including switch double wobble 1080 on the first hit, followed by a rail line including a blind 270 on as well as a frontside switchup. Dropping stylish airs in the jump section earned a score of 80.30 points. The Swiss national team rider claimed second place behind Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru in first.
Taking second place in Stubai marks Hoefflin’s twelfth career World Cup podium. After earning her neuroscience degree in 2013, she discovered professional freestyle skiing relatively late in her career. But her competitive record is unparalleled: Hoefflin won gold in slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That same year, she also took gold in Women’s Ski Big Air at X Games Aspen 2018 and now owns four X Games medals. In April 2021, Hoefflin was crowned ‘Ruler of the Week’ at the Audi Nines snow sports media event.
Stay tuned as the season continues at the FIS Freeski World Cup Visa Big Air presented by Toyota from December 3-4, 2021, at Steamboat Resort in Colorado.