Tess Ledeux laid down a marker on Friday as she began the 2022/23 FIS Freeski World Cup season with a commanding win at Big Air Chur in Switzerland, while on Sunday Marco Odermatt secured a dominant victory at the first giant slalom of the new season in Austria.
Having ended the 2021/2022 big air season with a silver medal at the Winter Games in Beijing, Ledeux was determined to get back to winning ways at the start of the new campaign.
The French freeskier announced that she meant business right from the off in Chur, securing a score of 93.00 thanks to landing a left double cork 1260 mute.
Ledeux then had a slight miscue at the start of her second run and knew that she would need to land something big with her final jump. She duly delivered, stomping a right-side double 1080 to secure a two-jump score of 181.00.
That score was enough to ensure Ledeux successfully defended her Big Air Chur title from last season and reached a milestone 10th career World Cup victory.
Ledeux, 20, said: “I was super nervous before the final run, because I knew I had to land it to win. I’m happy I was able to land it clean. It’s really special here with all this big crowd and I’m happy I was able to win here again.”
Second place went to Norway’s Sandra Eie, who secured a two-jump score of 170.75, while home favourite Mathilde Gremaud rounded off the podium after landing a switch left double cork 1080 safety in her second run that saw her earn a combined score of 170.00.
On Sunday, the season-opening men’s World Cup race got underway in Sölden, Austria, and there was a familiar face on the top step of the podium as Odermatt secured a 12th career victory.
The Swiss star produced a near-flawless first run and then overcame a few small mistakes in his second to finish seven-tenths of a second ahead of Zan Kranjec of Slovenia.
Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen delivered a quick and risky second run to grab third place.
Odermatt, who is bidding to become the first man to defend the overall World Cup title since Marcel Hirscher in 2019, said: “I was not sure [the first-run lead] was enough, this was really a big fight. The snow got worse and worse. Everybody made some mistakes.”