Freestyle skiing will return to its origins starting in 2024 when the best mogul skiers in the world compete for glory on the slopes of Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire.
The ski area has officially been tapped by the International Ski and Snowboard Federation to host World Cup men’s and women’s moguls and dual moguls events in 2024 and 2025. The early dates provided for the 2024 edition are Jan. 27 and 28.
The competition will be held on Lower Bobby’s Run, a 246-meter trail that reaches a pitch of 34 degrees.
“It will test any mogul skier in the world,” Waterville Valley president and general manager Tim Smith said. He added that the resort will create a “nice arena that we can showcase the viewing from” at the bottom of the mountain for spectators.
While it will be the first time Waterville Valley has hosted a World Cup moguls event, the resort has a rich history with both freestyle skiing and the World Cup tour. Because it was the first US ski area to start a freestyle instruction program in 1969 and also the first to hold the National Open Championships of Freestyle Skiing in 1970, it’s widely seen as playing a foundational role in developing the discipline.
Getting to host a World Cup moguls event is the result of a patient process by organizers. Smith said Waterville Valley has held other local and national freestyle competitions in recent years with an eye on a larger goal. After Utah’s Deer Valley Resort established itself as a popular US location for an annual World Cup moguls competition, an opportunity arose to add another North American venue.
“It gained the trust of everybody in the sport as to what Waterville has to offer and how we can pull off a really great event each year,” Smith said of hosting other competitions. “So when it came about that the US Ski Team was looking to host a second World Cup event here in the United States, we were at the top of their list.”
Waterville Valley was the last New England venue to hold a World Cup Alpine ski racing event (which it last did in 1991) prior to Killington becoming an annual addition to the World Cup calendar in 2016.
The freestyle event is expected to draw strong local support, as Killington does each year. It helps that some members of the US team are New England natives.
“I think they have a great run there,” said 2021 dual moguls national champion Kasey Hogg, who comes from Kensington, N.H. “I think it’s going to be difficult for a lot of the skiers coming from other parts of the world because maybe they’re not used to the East Coast snow conditions. So, for those of us who have skied there, we’re definitely going to have an advantage.”
Beyond any short-term success, organizers are hopeful that bringing a high-level competition into closer proximity of New England-based skiers can help inspire future generations.
“I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard from some of the best athletes in our programs that what really got them involved and motivated to want to be the best in the world was seeing their idols compete in the US,” said US Ski & Snowboard president and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt.
“Being able to experience it up close and personal, seeing them in person, maybe even meeting them and getting an autograph can be very impactful.”
Hayden Bird can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.