Led by Matt Graham, who shocked the moguls world last season with his first career victory, and Britt Cox, Australia's first female World Cup medallist in mogul skiing, the Aussie team also includes OWIA skier Brodie Summers plus up-and-coming NSWIS athletes Rohan Chapman- Davies and Jimmy Matheson.
The 2016/17 FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup moguls campaign gets underway on December 10, 2016 in Ruka for the seventh consecutive year of the ‘Freestyle Opening Ruka’ season starter.
Including Ruka, there are 11 moguls World Cup events (eight single moguls and three dual moguls) at eight venues scheduled for the 2016/17 season, with longstanding favourites like Deer Valley (USA), Calgary (CAN), and Lake Placid (USA) hosting competitions alongside newcomers like Thaiwoo (CHN) and the PyeongChang test event at Bokwang (KOR).
Bokwang and Thaiwoo are the freestyle skiing venues for next two Olympic Winter Games, with Bokwang Phoenix Park the site for the PyeongChang 2018, and Thaiwoo’s Genting Secret Garden resort lined up to be the host for the Beijing 2022 Games.
FIS, the international governing body, said on its website that, “We have seen in the past that strong performances in Olympic test events have translated into strong performances come Games-time, and you can expect every athlete with 2018 and 2022 Olympic aspirations to be gunning hard for these events.”
Renowned OWIA and multiple Olympic Champion coach Steve (Des) Desovich knows what needs to be done for his charges to reach the podium in the 21 to 23 second opportunity they face on the moguls’ course.
“The Canadians are very strong. Matt is second in the world and you have a good package that you can do on the day,” Des said.
“You have to be able to max out every aspect of the run and be consistent. You are taxed to the maximum of what is personally possible compared to what you can perform.”
The degree of difficulty continues to escalate in this exciting sport, which is why USA World Cup Aerialist and coach Jerry Grossi is an entrenched member of Des’ formidable coaching team going back as far as a camp in 2007.
“Des has great insight. He could see (well before 2010) that moguls were leaning towards more aerial elements and was becoming way more structured,” Jerry explained. “Teams now have aerial elements, turns, skiing and jumps coached separately.”
Canada is dominant in moguls – and none more so than Mikael Kingsbury - the most decorated men’s mogul’s skier of all time as the dual moguls and Freestyle overall crystal globe winner for the fourth consecutive season in 2015/16.
Matt Graham’s ability to impress has been recognised by FIS.
“A storyline to watch involves a crop of young skiers coming up who have shown to ability to challenge and, increasingly, beat the top-ranked Canadians. We saw this on the men’s side last season with impressive results by the likes of Matt Graham (AUS), Ben Cavet (FRA), and Jimi Salonen (FIN), who finished 2015/16 in second, third, and fifth respectively, overall.”
Come December 10 in Finland, we will start to get some answers to the big questions of the 2016/17 FIS Freestyle Skiing moguls World Cup.
The season finishes at the Sierra Nevada 2017 Freestyle World Ski Championships in Spain in March 2017.