Alpine & Ski Cross - 2023/24 Season Wrap

Published Fri 19 Apr 2024

The discipline of alpine skiing  remains one in which our best athletes compete against fully-professional opposition from countries where the sport is almost a religion.

That makes the breakthrough performances of some of our athletes in 2023/24 all the more remarkable and sets an exciting tone less than two years out from Milano-Cortina 2026.

Louis Muhlen-Schulte will forever be known as the first Australian male to score World Cup points in a technical discipline after a 27th place giant slalom finish at Aspen in March.

Louis’s strong results during the northern winter were launched by an impressive domestic campaign which included slalom and giant slalom victories at the New Zealand National Championships at Coronet Peak.

The historic result makes him the first Australian male since Craig Branch more than a decade ago to score Alpine World Cup points.

Earlier in the season, Madison Hoffman became the second Australian woman to score World Cup points in slalom. Her 25th place result in Levi, Finland in November was the first World Cup points scored in slalom since Zali Steggall in 2002.

Harry Laidlaw came within seconds of also earning World Cup points. At the Bansko  giant slalom in February, Laidlaw finished the first run in 24th place, and while a DNF on the second run denied him World Cup points, the effort showed the Pyeongchang Olympian is capable of mixing it with the world's best.

Greta Small’s World Cup season unfortunately came to a premature end when a broken hand in training saw her return to Australia early in 2024.

Amongst the junior ranks, Harry Hoffman cracked the sub-30 FIS points mark twice this season, a true mark of his progression.

The results achieved in Europe and North America place Harry in the top 15 in the world for his age in slalom skiing. He scored two top 20 national championships results in Italy and scored his first FIS race victory in giant slalom at Snow King Mountain Resort, Wyoming in January.

Abbey Evans scored a top 50 finish in giant slalom at the Junior World Championships in France. In the men’s event, James Kelly and Kyle McGowan both scored top 40 results.

Joey Steggall and Pia Bruce also competed at the Junior Worlds, while Arkie Lennon and Max Kelly were selected to represent Australia at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Ski Cross
Doug Crawford again led Australia’s ski cross contingent this season, scoring a 28th place in the World Cup in Alleghe, Italy. He had a Europa Cup victory in Idre Fjäll, Sweden in December before following it up with an additional Europa Cup podium at the same venue and three more top 10s to finish the season in eighth on the overall standings - a career-best performance.

Liam Michael received his first taste of World Cup action in January and continued to race through to the end of the season. He showed more consistency on the Europa Cup circuit with three top 20 results.

Emerson Facer again raced on the Europa Cup tour before finishing his season at the Junior World Championships where he was 19th in the individual event, and 15th in the Ski Cross Team event with Kyra Wheatley.

Wheatley broke through for her first three Europa Cup top 10 results this season, and earned an individual 18th  at Junior World Championships.

Duncan Cowan, Bayley Sadler and Dakota Turner had the honour of representing Australia at the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Cowan was given the privilege of carrying the Australian flag at the opening ceremony, going on to finish sixth in the individual event and 14th alongside Turner in the Team. He also scored two top five Nor-Am Cup results in 2024 against far more experienced opponents.

We are in the midst of wrapping up the the international season, with snapshots of Para Alpine/Para Snowboard, Aerials/Moguls, Snowboard Cross/Alpine Snowboard, Park & Pipe and Cross Country/Ski Mountaineering all being published to in the lead-in to the 2024 Snow Australia Awards.