It may seem like a ways away, but ski season is already getting started whether we’re ready or not. So who is going to make the biggest waves in skiing this year? With X Games, World Championships, and a reported El Nino on tap for the 2014-2015 winter, athletes are gearing up for a monster season. So who do we need to watch out for, you ask? We’ve put together a short list of our favorites to seriously shake things up.
Mikaela Shiffrin (pictured above)
To call Mikaela Shiffrin a prodigy is doing her name a disservice. At just 19, the Burke Mountain Academy product has already won a World Championship, World Cup slalom title, and Olympic gold medal, and will look to defend her World Championship slalom title in 2015. After making her debut as a 15-year-old in 2011, Shiffrin has rapidly climbed the world ranks, registering 17 podiums, and becoming one of the most consistent skiers on the World Cup circuit. She kicked off her 2014-2015 season in style last weekend with a tie for first place in the first World Cup stop of the season in Solden, Austria.
This Swede has turned his urban skiing into a legitimate freeskiing career in just a few short years, but still hasn’t cracked the big podiums in North America. We saw glimpses of a revolutionary slopestyle run at the Olympics last season, but he couldn’t land the big tricks when it counted. Now a year older and a year stronger, Tjäder, 18, is going to be a force that could shake up the guard at X Games and World Championships this season. Oh, and he’ll probably do it with a trick we’ve never even heard of before.
There’s not much you can say about this female freeskier other than “holy, what?!” Sliding effortlessly from big mountains to the park and any freestyle feature in between, the 23-year-old Canadian dropped a mind-blowing edit from the 2013-2014 season, and it’s hard not to believe she’ll be at it again this year.
The young American was a surprise addition to the U.S. Freestyle squad at last year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, but proved his worth right away with an inspiring fifth place finish. Representing a new wave of American aerialists, Bohonnon will get a shot to increase his stock at this year’s World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado, as well as a full year on the World Cup circuit. Not bad for a 19-year-old.
Amazingly, at 25, Sammy Carlson is considered the veteran on this “must-watch” list. That could be due in part to the freakish success he's had since breaking on to the scene about a decade ago, winning eight X Games gold medals including the first two golds in the X Games' new Real Ski Backcountry video contest. He is also the first skier to land a switch triple cork 1260 (three flips and four spins) and is in the process of filming a much-hyped two-year project with Teton Gravity Research. So, while he may not be in the public spotlight much this season, anything coming out of Sammy C's camp is bound to blow your mind. Stay tuned.
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