(LAAX, Switzerland – 18 December 2018) – Winter season is under way: in the leading freestyle resort of LAAX and on the international snowboarding circuit. The LAAX OPEN will take place next month, from 14 to 19 January 2019. The FIS Snowboard World Cup and elite World Snowboarding event, featuring prize money of CHF 200,000, attracts professional snowboarders from all over the world to LAAX, in the canton of Graubünden (Grison). 2018 Olympic champions Anna Gasser (AUT) and Sebastien Toutant (CAN) have confirmed their participation, along with OPEN event champions Christy Prior (NZL) and Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI). Entries for the Slopestyle and Halfpipe competitions have been received from 19 different countries spanning five continents. Preparations are now in full swing with the organiser for an action-packed LAAX OPEN.
The OPEN in LAAX has always been an absolute must for competitive snowboarders. They love the perfectly groomed freestyle facilities, the powder day, music, entertainment and spectators. LAAX is many people’s favourite resort, and riders from all over the world feel right at home here. Such as Seb Toutant, junior champion in the Burton European Open in LAAX in 2008, third place in the Slopestyle event at the LAAX OPEN 2016 and Olympic champion in 2018. “Why I like LAAX so much is cause of the mountain, there is like powder everywhere, there is like really good park, and probably this mountain has the most beautiful view in the background. So that’s why I love it to come here every season.”
The Canadian has signed up for the LAAX OPEN 2019 in the Slopestyle event and is one of the favourites for the title, along with his compatriots Mark McMorris, Tyler Nicholsen, Darcy Sharp, Michael Ciccarelli and Max Parrot, who occupied the first five places in LAAX in 2016 and also filled the podium in 2017 with Parrot in first place. The Swiss men’s halfpipe team will also all line up in their home World Cup event. This includes defending LAAX OPEN champion Iouri Podladtchikov, along with Pat Burgener, Jan Scherrer, David Hablützel and Elias Allensbach.
The ladies’ list also includes a number of stars. 2018 Olympic champion Anna Gasser from Austria, Christy Prior from New Zealand (2015 BEO champion in LAAX), Spencer O’Brien (number one in the World Snowboard Points List) from Canada, local star Sina Candrian and the pipe specialists Queralt Castellet from Spain and France’s Mirabelle Thovex – all six know what it takes to put on a perfect run to impress the judges and secure victory.
The leading challengers in the men’s and women’s events are the riders from Norway, USA, Japan and China, who are regulars on the podium at the LAAX OPEN. There are twelve podium places up for grabs in 2019. Who will finish in what position, who will take home the most prize money and who will secure the most World Cup points is all decided on Friday 18 January from 12 p.m. CET in the Slopestyle event and on Saturday 19 January from 5.30 p.m. CET in the Halfpipe event. The top six women and top ten men from the preliminary rounds will then go on to compete for the prestigious LAAX OPEN title. Spectators can watch the sporting competitions free of charge.