A 21-strong Australian team will take on the best from around the globe when the 2023 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships commence this weekend in Bakuriani, Georgia.
The squad is split almost evenly down the middle with 11 snowboarders and 10 skiers amongst the group, which includes 11 females and 10 males.
In an extremely accomplished and in-form group, a third of the athletes headed to Georgia have won World Cup events this season, while three medalled recently at X Games.
Laura Peel and Danielle Scott lead the Flying Kangaroos into the World Championships having both scored World Cup wins already this season. Peel is the defending World Champion, having also claimed the title in 2015, while Scott has never finished outside the top five including two podium appearances.
Twenty-three year old Ashleigh Frigo joins her more experienced counterparts in an event which has also produced Aussie World Champions in Kirstie Marshall (1997), Jacqui Cooper (1999) and Alisa Camplin (2003).
Fresh from double gold at the Deer Valley World Cup earlier this month, Jakara Anthony and Matt Graham head a strong moguls team in Georgia. Olympic Champion Anthony has four World Cup wins to her credit this season. Both Anthony and Graham were runners up at the 2019 World Championships, with Graham also claiming a dual moguls silver in 2021.
Cooper Woods started the season with a couple of top 10s and will be hoping to emulate the form which took him to sixth at last year’s Olympic Games. Jackson Harvey and George Murphy are entering their first World Championships in what is their debut season on the World Cup circuit.
Abi Harrigan is off to her second World Championships having finished 13th in slopestyle in 2021. The Beijing Olympian comes into the event having achieved her best World Cup result at Laax in January where she was 12th.
Douglas Crawford is Australia’s only ski cross competitor in Bakuriani this year. The 24-year-old stood on the podium at the 2019 Junior World Championships and was in the top six at the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016. Crawford has predominantly raced on the European Cup circuit in Austria and Switzerland so far this season.
Six snowboarders will be eyeing off medals across all the disciplines as they take on big air, slopestyle and halfpipe.
Two-time Olympic medallist and three-time World Champion Scotty James will be hoping to retake his halfpipe crown having had to settle for second place in 2021.
Also challenging for a place on the halfpipe podium will be Valentino Guseli. Since the Beijing Olympics, the 17-year-old has turned into a triple threat, becoming the first snowboarder to stand on the World Cup dais in all three park and pipe disciplines in a single season.
Jesse Parkinson made his World Cup debut at Bakuriani less than 12 months ago where he finished fifth in slopestyle. He will also compete in big air alongside Guseli.
Tess Coady and Meila Stalker will compete in women’s big air and slopestyle at the World Championships, while Emily Arthur will contest halfpipe. Coady – the 2017 Junior World Champion in big air and slopestyle – has shown herself to be a big-event performer in the last two years, following a World Championships bronze in 2021, Olympic bronze in 2022 and X Games silver in January.
Nineteen-year-old Stalker made her World Cup debut last month and finished sixth at the Junior World Championships last year. Two-time Olympian Arthur enters the Championships in good form, with the halfpipe rider equalling her career-best World Cup finish with sixth place in Laax last month.
Australia are the reigning World Champions in the Snowboard Cross Team event and a quartet of riders are aiming for further success in Georgia. Beijing Olympian and 2020 Youth Olympic champion Josie Baff started the season in perfect fashion, scoring her maiden World Cup victory before backing it up with another podium to currently sit third in the season standings.
Belle Brockhoff teamed with Jarryd Hughes to win the Team world title in 2021, and she will be hoping to improve on her fourth place finishes in the individual women’s event at both the last World Championships and the 2022 Olympics.
Three-time Olympian Cameron Bolton is back for his fifth World Championships having first competed at the event more than 10 years ago. Adam Lambert finished sixth at his first World Championships in 2017 and has since competed at two Olympic Games and twice stood on the World Cup podium.
Millie Bongiorno is enjoying some strong form this season having scored her best individual World Cup result in January, when she improved from 24th in qualifying to finish 19th in Bulgaria. This will be the third World Championships appearance for the 25-year-old who also competed at Park City, Utah in 2019 and in Slovenia in 2021.