Name: Henrik Harlaut
2016/17 AFP slopestyle ranking: 5th
- 2-time Dew Tour slopestyle champion (2016, 2017)
- 4-time X Games big air gold medalist
- 2-time AFP big air champion (2013, 2017)
Harlaut placed sixth at the inaugural competition for freeski slopestyle in 2014. He’s widely remembered for giving a shout-out to a legendary rap group after one of his runs when he looked into the camera and decreed that “Wu Tang is for the children!” His fashion choice also made headlines when he nearly lost his pants on one of his runs.
The bulk of Harlaut’s success has come in big air, a non-Olympic discipline, but he’s a medal threat in slopestyle as well. He’s part of a wide-open field of contenders for PyeongChang.
Harlaut is respected for his innovative skiing. He has a very unique style that other skiers love and has a lot of creative tricks in his arsenal. Among the things he has become known for is “nose butter” takeoffs (see the video below for an example), which can add style and a higher degree of difficulty to tricks. The Swede also stands out because of his constant smile, his extremely baggy attire and his signature dreadlocks, though the dreads have been cropped significantly since the last Olympics.
Growing up in Stockholm, Harlaut started skiing at age 2 and then moved into Alpine racing after a few years. When he was 9, his family moved to the northern part of Sweden and Harlaut was introduced to freeskiing. Soon he decided to put his focus into freeskiing, rather than Alpine racing or ice hockey. Harlaut learned his first backflip at age 10 with the help of Jacob Wester, a pro skier from Sweden, and by the age of 14, he had landed his first switch 1440.
At the X Games big air contest in 2013, Harlaut landed the first-ever nose butter triple cork 1620. The trick helped him earn his first X Games gold medal.
Harlaut has continued to shine in big air events. Since 2013, he has earned a medal in all but one X Games big air contest he has entered. In 2017, he was crowned the big air champion by the AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) for the second time in his career.
As for slopestyle, Harlaut has maintained his status as a podium contender. He placed second at the Olympic test in February 2016 on what will be nearly the same course featured at the upcoming Winter Games. He’s also found success at Dew Tour, winning the slopestyle championship in back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017.
It hasn’t just been about competitions for Harlaut though. In 2016, Inspired Media dropped a film project titled “BE Inspired” starring Harlaut and fellow pro skier Phil Casabon. The 24-minute edit was the culmination of a two-year project for the crew. Fittingly, the film’s original soundtrack includes a signature track from a Wu Tang Clan member, Raekwon.
Off the snow
Harlaut is an avid hockey fan and used to aspire to play professionally before he discovered freeskiing. His nickname is “E Dollo.”
“Skiing is the very, very most fun thing I know to do. As long as I do that, I’m super happy, and I’m just grateful for always being able to do it. Definitely pressure comes, but I just try to see it as a good thing and use it as people wanting to see [me] do good. [I] try to take all the positivity from that pressure. I kind of like the pressure in general. It’s nice, it makes you fired up and really want to put it down when you need to put it down.” — Henrik Harlaut on his joyful approach to skiing