Time to look ahead to the new season in Ski X

it’s time to look ahead at what to expect from four months of SX action this winter.

This season will see 16 competitions (including one team event) taking place at seven venues, in six different countries across three continents.

Due to the lack of snow in Les Deux Alpes (FRA) the season will start off a little bit later than originally anticipated, in Val Thorens (FRA) from 06-09 December.

After the kick-off event in France, we will continue on through the Alps to the always exciting night event in Arosa (SUI) from 11-12 December. Then, from 20-22 December, we’ll see the athletes battle in back-to-back races for the South Tyrolian speck, the traditional winner’s prize for each of the races in Innichen/San Candido (ITA).

After an extended holiday break the tour will head north and restart with back-to back races at one of our long-running venues in Idre Fjäll (SWE) from 20-22 January.

The last two races before the season highlight Bakuriani 2023 FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships will take place at Reiteralm (AUT) from 15 – 17 February.

Right after Reiteralm the best 16 women and 32 men will head to Georgia to battle for gold at the FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships in Bakuriani (GEO), where SX competition will be taking place from 23-25 February.

Ski cross competition at Bakuriani 2023 will begin with qualifications on 23 February, followed on 24 February with the World Championships finals, where the medals will be awarded.

Then, for the first time in ski cross history at the World Championships, there will also be held a mixed team event, where the best 16 teams (consisting out of one woman and one man from one nation) will seek to make history on 25 February.

After the World Championships, the World Cup circuit will reconvene in Germany. There back-to-back races will take place at one of our new venues this season, as Oberwiesenthal (GER) will make it’s World Cup hosting debut from 03-05 March.

From 10-12 March, the next stop on the World Cup tour will be in Veysonnaz (SUI), though the venue will not serve as the World Cup finals host as in past season, but instead as the penultimate stop.

Instead, this season will see the second new venue of the winter step straight into a role as World Cup finals host, as Craigleith at Canada’s Blue Mountain has the honour of closing out the 2022/23 FIS Ski Cross World Cup from 16-18 March.

Who to watch – WOMEN (click for FIS profile):

Sandra Naeslund – Beijing 2022 Olympic gold medalist, overall FIS Ski Cross World Cup Winner from 2021/22 and reigning World Champion 2021, the 26-year-old Swede has more than earned her place amongst the very greatest of all time. With 54 podiums Naeslund sits second on the ski cross all-time rankings - the same position she holds on the all-time victories rankings with 28. The fact that all of this success has come in 94 World Cup starts means that she has stood on the podium at more than one out of every two races throughout her career, a truly remarkable statistic.

Last season Naeslund claimed victory in 11 our of 12 World Cup competitions - a run of season-long dominance the likes of which the ski cross World Cup has never really seen. When it comes to ski cross, right now it’s Sandra Naeslund’s world and everybody else is just living in it.

Fanny Smith – The only active athlete who sits above Naeslund on the all-time World Cup podiums and wins rankings, with 64 career podiums and 29 victories. While Smith should be counted on to hold onto her lead atop the podiums rankings by seasons end, it seems to be only a matter of time before Naeslund catches 30-year-old Swiss legend in the wins column.

Regardless of those stats, with a bronze medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, as well as five medals (including one victory) in her past five World Championships starts, Smith is one of the greatest and most recognisable athletes in ski cross history. Expect Smith to be Naeslund’s top challenger once again this season.

Marielle Thompson – The Sochi 2014 Olympic gold medallist, 2019 World Champion and the silver medalist at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, as well as a two-time SX crystal globe winner, Thompson has been one of the most consistently strong ski cross athletes in the world over the past 12 years. With 52 podiums and 25 victories doing that period, she stands alongside Naeslund, Smith, Anna Holmlund (SWE) and the great Ophelie David (FRA) on the Mt Rushmore of greats in women’s ski cross.

Not to be overlooked:

Daniela Maier (GER), Brittany Phelan (CAN), Jade Grillet Aubert (FRA), Courtney Hoffos (CAN)

Who to watch – MEN (click for FIS profile):

On the men’s side we find an exceptionally strong field with a long list of athletes capable of earning podiums on any given day. In fact, last season we saw eight different athletes taking home at least one victory over the course of the campaign, resulting in a thrillingly tight crystal globe battle. With the likelihood of that battle once again being a close one from start to finish of the 2022/23 season, let’s have a closer look on some of the top performers from last season.

Ryan Regez – Beijing 2022 Olympic gold medalist and overall FIS Ski Cross World Cup Winner from 2021/22. Walking away from one’s first ever Olympic Winter Games experience with a gold medal around your neck is incredible. Adding 14 podiums over the course of that same season - including six victories - makes the mad man of Swiss ski cross a must-watch competitor in 2022/23.

Terence Tchiknavorian – won one race on home soil in Val Thorens and jumped on the podium three more times over the course of last winter, giving him second place in the overall rankings of the World Cup 2021/22.

Bastien Midol – finishing only 40 points behind his teammate Tchiknavorian, the veteran Midol ended up in the World Cup top-3 for the fourth time in his career last season, with the most points since his crystal globe-winning campaign of 2018/19. In total Midol counts 109 World Cup starts, 19 podiums, and 5 victories to his career credit.

Alex Fiva – the Big Ax shows no signs of slowing down. The 36-year-old Swiss legend is our reigning World Champion from 2021, and last season added to his expansive trophy case by claiming Olympic silver behind Regez at Beijing 2022. With a total of 29 WC podiums and 13 victories in his career, Fiva remains on everyone’s who-to-watch list as he seeks to defend his world champs gold in Bakuriani at the end of February 2023.

Not to be overlooked:

Florian Wilmsmann (GER), David Mobaerg (SWE), Reece Howden (CAN), Johannes Rohrweck (AUT), Brady Leman (CAN), Simone Deromedis (ITA) and of course do not forget Ollie Davies and Emma Peters from Great Britain

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