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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Ski & Snowboard News / Biggest event since the Olympics -- and it's free

Jan 24, 2019 10:36AM ● By Harriet Wallis

Bump, bump, bump / photo courtesy Deer Valley

Athletes from around the world are into their final preparations for the kick-off of the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships scheduled to take place at 3 Utah resorts: Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain, and Solitude Mountain Resort, February 1-10.

The competitions will bring approximately 1,400 athletes from 40 countries to Utah for the biggest winter sports event to take place in the state since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

How athletes are selected

Each nation will select their 2019 FIS World Championship Teams. FIS has established that a maximum of 36 athletes representing any one nation may compete in the 2019 World Championships in freestyle/freeski as well as in snowboarding. The maximum quota for a nation in any one event will be four per gender up to the max total per gender of 20 athletes and max total team size of 36 athletes. Athletes named to the team will start in the event from which they qualified.

The U.S. will select up to three athletes per discipline per gender based on objective criteria, which varies by sport. After the allocation of objective criteria between all World Championship disciplines, any remaining nation quota positions for U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes in each discipline will be filled by selection from the head coaches and sport director based on the discipline/gender with the highest medal potential.

U.S. athletes to watch

U.S. athletes are coming into 2019 with strong results in early selection events. In freeski, defending FIS Halfpipe World Champion Aaron Blunck (Crested Butte, Colo.) and double-Olympic gold medalist David Wise, finished in first and third place respectively at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado. For the women, PyeongChang Olympic bronze medalist Brita Sigourney (Carmel, Calif.) also made the podium with a third-place finish.

For the U.S. Snowboard Team, PyeongChang Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim kicked off the 2018-19 competition season at the U.S. Grand Prix with a victory, while teammate Maddie Mastro (Wrightwood, Calif.) finished just behind Kim in second-place. For the men, Toby Miller (Mammoth, Calif.) and Chase Josey (Sun Valley, Idaho) finished second and third respectively.

On similar note in the snowboardcross world, defending FIS World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) as well as 2018 Junior World Champion Jake Vedder (Pinckney, Mich.) started strong at the first World Cup of the season. Jacobellis claimed a first and second place across a two race program at the Cervinia, Italy FIS World Cup as well as earned her 30th career World Cup victory. In addition, Vedder claimed his his first ever World Cup podium.

In freestyle, Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyo.) is also setting herself up for World Championships success. She won back-to-back FIS Freestyle World Cup moguls and dual moguls events in Thaiwoo, China Dec. 15-16. Kauf is currently ranked as the top female moguls skier in the world and leads the World Cup tour. As the reigning World Champion in aerials, Jon Lillis (Rochester, N.Y.) has an automatic competition spot outside of the U.S. Team and will be a force to watch. The aerials FIS World Cup season kicks off in Lake Placid, N.Y. Jan. 18-19.

With 10 days of world class competition be sure to tune-in and watch as history is made. NBC Sports will showcase more than 25 hours of 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championship programming, including more than 10 hours of live coverage, on NBC and the NBC Sports networks.

Additional coverage will also be available on NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product – and the digital platform. A full broadcast schedule will be available on both and