2017 World Champion Britt Cox will lead the charge for Australia in hope of defending her first ever World Cup victory, which she won on the very same mountain 363 days ago (read more about Cox’s preparations here >>>).
Fellow Sochi Olympian and current World number three, Matt Graham won silver in Ruka last year and will be determined for another podium finish this time around.
Cox, Graham and the rest of the Australian Moguls Team have been in Ruka for over a week now, making the most of time time on snow in the pre-comp period before the official World Cup training kicked off on Thursday.
“We achieved 10-11 days on snow with Britt and Matt working separate components of their turns and jumps while also merging them into whole runs,” Australian Moguls Head Coach Steve Desovich said.
“Both Britt and Matt have had some nice moments in training while also understanding that the whole package with all the skills is very much an on going process.
“Both skiers have engaged in their efforts in their physical preparation as well with John Marsden and Will Morgan (Physio) piloting those efforts on behalf of the program.
“We are also fortunate to have our performance psych Dr. Tom Hammond on hand to continue with his integration into our program operation with his curriculum,” Desovich said.
Joining Cox on the start line include fellow PyeongChang hopefuls Jakara Anthony (OWIA) and NSWIS athletes Sophie Ash, Claudia Gueli, Madii Himbury, Krystle Yin and Sochi Olympian Taylah O’Neill.
Alongside Graham in the men’s event will be his Aussie teammates Rohan Chapman-Davies, James Matheson and Cooper Woods-Topalovic.
Sochi Olympian Brodie Summers is missing from the start list as he continues to recover from a knee reconstruction earlier in the year. The world number six is still aiming to qualify for the PyeongChang Games, but will leave his run for a few more weeks to maximize his knee recovery.
"The course here in Ruka is always very challenging and therefore each skier needs to know their parameters and be able to produce on demand with little mystery,” Desovich said.
The event in Ruka marks the start of the five World Cup circuit where athletes will accumulate points to secure a quota for their country at next year’s Winter Olympics.
Qualification kicks off on Saturday night (AEDT) with both the men’s and women’s finals to take place early Sunday morning.