Elias Syrjä is a fresh face in the World Cup scene starting just this season. Since his debut in New Zealand, the Finnish skier has competed in 10 world competitions in both slopestyle and big air. His closest brush with the podium was his fourth-place finish in Moenchengladbach, Germany, just pushed out by fellow X Games Norway athlete, Øystein Braaten. While he has yet to hit the podium on the world cup circuit, the Finnish national champion will be putting pressure on the more established athletes at his first X Games in May.
While a relative newcomer to the international stage, Hugo Burvall is attacking it with style and drive. This 20 year old has big aspirations of being the best in the circuit. Raised in Sundsvall, Sweden, Hugo Burvall started skiing at a very young age. Over the years, he’s accumulated a nice bag of tricks that has earned him 2 world cup podiums since he started on the international circuit two years ago.
This young Norwegian came on strong in 2017. He won the World Cup Big Air in Voss, Norway, before finishing 2nd overall in the AFP rankings for slopestyle. He’s competed at X Games Big Air both times it’s been held in Norway, finishing 5th in 2017.
Hailing from the same hometown as skiing legend Jon Olsson, Oscar Wester came out strong in 2014, winning both the Jon Olsson Invitational and Nine Knights with a triple cork 1620 safety grab. Brother of former X Games competitor Jacob Wester, Oscar also competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics, where he finished 18th in slopestyle. He only built on that success, which has recently culminated in multiple world cup victories and his participation at PyeongChang 2018 (11th). Oscar competed in his first X Games in 2015 and has also competed at Aspen 2018. Those weren’t his only trips to X Games, though. He’s been twice before to watch Jacob compete.
Posting impressive results in both Big Air and slopestyle, Jesper is another Swedish ski ace like former X Gamers Jon Olsson and Jacob Wester. He drew attention for a wild double backflip that he threw in April 2014 at the Nine Knights — he flipped over several features in a high-consequence, creative jump. He has competed at X Games seven times, with a best finish of 5th in Big Air in Aspen 2015. Has a great eye for photography and vid clips, which partially explains how he has over 216,000 Instagram followers.
An X Games rookie in 2017, Hall (then 18) finished 13th in Aspen and 16th in Norway. He finished 4th overall on the AFP rankings for slopestyle in 2017 and represented USA at PyeongChang. This American grew up in Switzerland where his parents are professors at the University of Zurich. He’s also broadening his mind at the University of Utah at the same time as competing.
This 19-year-old Norwegian is a relatively new name on the international circuit. He started on the World Cup circuit just a year ago, and his X Games debut happened just a few months ago at X Games Aspen 2018. That being said, he’s come in with a splash. His first podium finish on the FIS circuit happened 2 months after his debut and has continued to hit the podium since. His clear talent has garnered attention, and he’s shown it at his first Olympic Games as one of the Norwegian favorites where he finished eighth.
Norway’s Felix Usterud originally made a name for himself by skiing in his bathrobe. But he has comp. chops, too. He won the overall FIS World Cup (Crystal Globe) in 2015 for slopestyle and finished 2nd at the 2016 European Open in Laax, SUI (slopestyle). More recently, Felix has hit numerous podiums on the FIS and World Cup circuits and represented Norway at the Olympics. The 24-year old Norwegian, who finished 7th in Big Air at 2016 X Games Oslo and 2017 X Games Norway, has a great sense of humour and is known for his double front-flip tail-grab and his big biceps.
Boesch was an X Games rookie and one of four Swiss skiers on the 2016 Aspen Big Air roster when he claimed a surprise gold, triumphing in snowy, adverse conditions. He backed that up by taking silver at XG Oslo a month later. Unfortunately, he bruised a heel in X Games Aspen 2017 Slopestyle practice and was forced to drop from both that discipline and Big Air. While the injury sidelined him for most of the season, he has already bounced back nicely finishing 3rd at the Aug. World Cup in Cardrona, NZL. A talented junior racer-turned-freeskiing competitor, Fabian crushed it during the 2015/2016 season, winning the overall AFP title for big air in addition to collecting podiums at four major slopestyle competitions. Fabian had a good showing at X Games Aspen 2018 Big Air, being just edged out of the podium to finish fourth.
Now one of the best contest skiers on the scene, Braaten earned a convincing Slopestyle gold at X Games Aspen 2017. He backed it up with a win in front of the home-country crowd at XG Norway. Now a two-time winner of the AFP slopestyle title (2016 and 2017), Braaten — who is a native of the tiny Torpo, Norway (pop. 405!) — also was nominated for a 2017 ESPY for Best Male Action Sports Athlete. He added to his medal collection at X Games Aspen 2018 with a silver in big air and slopestyle. Action sports runs in the family: Øystein’s brother, Gjermund, has multiple X Games Snowboard appearances. Both brothers competed in the 2014 Sochi Games.
Hailing from Hakadal, Norway, Christian Nummedal had his X Games debut at X Games Hafjell last year and continued his X Games run at X Games Aspen 2018 earning himself 5th place. The 22-year-old Big Air and Slopestyle skier earned two victories on the FIS circuit last year and is ranked as one of the top Big Air athletes in the world. These achievements earned him a spot on the national team this past year.
This three-time XG Ski Big Air gold medalist (Aspen 2013, 2014 and Oslo 2016) is an innovative jumper with an irrepressible personality. The Swede has the most Ski Big Air gold in history. Known for his nose-butter takeoffs, Henrik throws some of the most creative tricks in skiing. He’s no slouch on the slopestyle course, either. He recently won the Dec. 2016 Dew Tour (Breckenridge, CO) event and owns X Games Slopestyle silver. He also took second at the World Cup South Korea Olympic test event in mid-February 2016. He competes in both Big Air and Slopestyle at XG Aspen 2017.
Switzerland’s Kai Mahler is a three-time XG Aspen Big Air medalist (2 silver, 1 bronze). Known for his stylie spins, Mahler hasn’t jumped on the triples bandwagon (although he can do them) and prefers to throw creative doubles like the switch double Misty 1440. A 2014 Winter Olympian, Mahler also holds his own on the slopestyle course; he finished 16th in the discipline in Sochi. Finished 5th in snowy conditions in Big Air at XG Aspen 2016.
A “dry slope” kid from Great Britain, Woods grew up skiing on artificial turf out in the “moors,” as he likes to describe them. Great Britain’s most popular freeskier, Woods turned heads when he netted bronze after qualifying No. 1 as an XG Aspen rookie in 2013. A good overall season in 2015 saw “Woodsy” finish 4th in the AFP rankings for slopestyle and take another X Games top-5. He had another good performance at X Games Aspen 2016, finishing 4th in Slopestyle.
Zuzana Stromková is a big air and slopestyle skier hailing from Slovakia. She has medaled at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships, participated at the 2014 Olympics and has consistently ranked in the top 10 skiers. She became the first person to land a flatspin 1080 in 2016.
Dominque Ohaco made her first X Games appearance at Aspen this year and is the first Chilean skier to compete at X Games. She is a 2014 Olympian (Sochi, 13th slopestyle), and she made her second Slopestyle Olympic appearance in 2018 (PyeongChang, 20th). When she’s not trotting the globe chasing ski competitions, she attends college in Santiago, Chile where she studies industrial design.
Buoyed by three World Cup podium finishes in 2017 and 2 in 2018, Burmansson will became the latest teen sensation to join the young rippers of X Games Women’s Ski Slopestyle. At 15, she was the youngest athlete competing at X Games Aspen 2018 and grabbed the bronze in slopestyle. Born and raised in the ski resort town of Salen, Sweden (250 miles northwest of Stockholm), Burmansson switched from racing to freeski when she was 8 and counts 25-year-old Swedish skier and fellow X Games athlete Emma Dahlstrom as one of her heroes.
Maggie burst onto the scene when she took a surprise Slopestyle silver back at X Games Aspen 2014. Then just 15, the Montana native is now a seasoned competitor; she earned her second X Games medal in Norway 2017 in Big Air (Bronze). She’s the only American to medal in women’s Ski Big Air. She represented America at PyeongChang this year, coming just shy of the podium.
After missing X Games Aspen 2014 and 2015, the talented Norwegian skier scored silver at Aspen 2016. At Aspen 2013, when the focus was on Kaya Turski’s quest for the four-peat, Tiril, then 17, took gold as a rookie. Six weeks later, she earned silver at X Games Tignes. By year’s end, she finished second overall in the AFP rankings for Slopestyle. A favorite for gold at both Aspen and Sochi in 2014, Tiril tore her left ACL in Dec. 2013 and missed the season. She also missed X Games Aspen 2015. In Feb. 2015, she returned to competition and has made the podium in 9 of 10 events since (as of Feb. 15th, 2016).
Johanne Killi is off to a great start at X Games: The 20-year-old has medaled in 5 of 6 competition starts (1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze in both Slopestyle and Big Air competitions). At X Games Norway 2017, she came through in front of the home-country crowd, taking Slopestyle gold in her second run. Johanne comes from the small town of Dombaas, which has about 2,000 citizens. Her family owns a dairy farm. She won the first big Slopestyle event of the 2017/2018 season, the Dec. 2017 Dew Tour Breckenridge.
A late bloomer, Sarah Hoefflin was just a weekend warrior until she graduated from university in 2013. After earning a neuroscience degree, Hoefflin decided to put the “real world” on hold while she pursued her skiing dreams. The gamble is paying off. She picked up the sport quickly and won the 2017 Crystal Globe for Slopestyle. An X Games rookie at Aspen 2018, Hoefflin finished 4th in Slopestyle and took home the gold in Big Air.
This teen surprised at her first X Games, scoring Ski Big Air bronze and taking 4th in Slopestyle at Aspen 2017. Part of the suddenly formidable Swiss women’s freeski squad, the 18-year-old won Nine Queens in 2016 with a switch 1080. With major podiums in both slopestyle and Big Air this season in addition to her X Games Aspen medal, expect to see Giulia contend for another X Games medal in Norway.