Freeskiing gets underway at the Winter Olympics this week with a series of slopestyle competitions. The women will go first on Saturday, then the men on Sunday (Saturday night in the U.S.).
Team USA features two new Olympians: McRae Williams and Alex Hall. Williams, 27, is a three-time X Games medalist who really hit his stride last season after discovering a technique known as “mindfulness.”
With a strong team, the U.S. will once again push for medals, but for anyone expecting another sweep, expectations should be tempered. The international field is both deep and talented — though the same could have been said in Sochi as well.
Here’s a look at some of the other countries and athletes that will challenge the Americans for medals.
Switzerland: Andri Ragettli, Fabian Boesch
Is anyone having more fun at the Olympics than these guys? Fabian Boesch’s Instagram account has become a must-follow after videos that have included a new take on the two-man bobsled and a creative way of riding escalators. Andri Ragettli, the first skier to ever land a quad cork 1800, is no stranger to viral videos either — his parkour-inspired obstacle course training sessions have been a big hit.
Norway: Oystein Braaten, Ferdinand Dahl
Oystein Braaten won the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) slopestyle title last season and has earned a medal at X Games Aspen for three consecutive years. Ferdinand Dahl, 19, is on the rise and recently finished second at a U.S. Grand Prix event.