First wave of 2017 Winter X Games freeski athlete invites announced

First wave of 2017 Winter X Games freeski athlete invites announced

The invited athlete lists for the 2017 Winter X Games—both the Aspen, Colorado and Oslo, Norway stops—were released today. This winter’s X Games contests mark the first time women have been invited to participate in the big air discipline, a monumental step for the sport.

Notable athletes that grace the Aspen invite list for women’s big air include 14-year-old Kelly Sildaru, who made her first X Games appearance last year, taking home gold in slopestyle and becoming the youngest X Games gold medalist in history. There isn’t another women’s big air invited athlete under the age of 19, which is sure to be a topic discussed at the Games. Other women’s big air athletes of note are Lisa Zimmermann, 20, and Emma Dahlstrom, 24, who took first and third, respectively, in the recent FIS big air event in Milan, Italy.

As for men’s big air, the list includes many familiar names, like Bobby Brown, Elias Ambühl, Vincent Gagnier, Henrik Harlaut and last year’s gold medalist, Fabian Boesch. This generation of high-flyers has been battling in big air competitions for the last couple of years now, and it’s exciting to know they’ll be duking it out once again under the lights in Aspen.

Photo by Kjell Ellefson

James Woods at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen. Photo: Kjell Ellefson

The slopestyle discipline, too, will have a stable of skiers competing that we’ve become accustomed to seeing top podiums over the past few years: Names such as Harlaut, Brown, Joss Christensen, Øystein Bråten, James Woods, Andri Ragettli and Gus Kenworthy, on the men’s side, and Dahlström, Sildaru, Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen and Maggie Voisin for the women.

History could be made in the pipe as Maddie Bowman, 22, will be gunning for a five-peat in women’s superpipe. The South Lake Tahoe-native will be joined by Annalisa Drew, Marie Martinod, Ayana Onozuka and Cassie Sharpe.

Gold Medalist Maddie Bowman grabbing mute above the crowd

Maddie Bowman goes for the five-peat at Winter X Games 2017. Photo: Kjell Ellefson

When the men take to the stunt ditch, three-time Aspen medalist and local skier Torin Yater-Wallace will look to get back in the groove after two years of disappointing finishes at X. Three-time gold medalist David Wise and last year’s podium-topper Kevin Rolland (his third such first place finish in pipe) are also stand-outs among the men’s pipe competitors.

X Games Norway will include both slopestyle and big air events, and only a limited number of invitees have been announced.

The athlete lists will continue to grow in the months leading up to Winter X Games Aspen and Norway. Stay tuned to freeskier.com for updates.

Winter X Games Aspen Invited Athletes

  • Elias Ambühl, SUI (Big Air)
  • Alex Bellemare, CAN (Slopestyle)
  • Fabian Boesch, SUI (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Maddie Bowman, USA (SuperPipe)
  • Øystein Bråten, NOR (Slopestyle)
  • Bobby Brown, USA (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Joss Christensen, USA (Slopestyle)
  • Emma Dahlström, SWE (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Annalisa Drew, USA (SuperPipe)
  • Alex Ferreira, USA (SuperPipe)
  • Vincent Gagnier, CAN (Big Air)
  • Nick Goepper, USA (Slopestyle)
  • Henrik Harlaut, SWE (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Gus Kenworthy, USA (SuperPipe, Slopestyle)
  • Johanne Killi, NOR (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Marie Martinod, FRA (SuperPipe)
  • Ayana Onozuka, CAN (SuperPipe)
  • Andri Ragettli, SUI (Slopestyle)
  • Kevin Rolland, FRA (SuperPipe)
  • Cassie Sharpe, CAN (SuperPipe)
  • Kelly Sildaru, EST (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen, NOR (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Ben Valentin, FRA (SuperPipe)
  • Maggie Voisin, USA (Big Air, Slopestyle)
  • Jossi Wells, NZL (Slopestyle)
  • McRae Williams, USA (Slopestyle)
  • David Wise, USA (SuperPipe)
  • James Woods, GBR (Slopestyle)
  • Torin Yater-Wallace, USA (SuperPipe)
  • Lisa Zimmerman, GER (Big Air, Slopestyle)

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