Season Finals around the corner
With the FIS World Championships all completed, the skiing and snowboard worlds now turn their attention from the quest for medals to the hunt for the crystal globes.
Four of the six FIS disciplines will be hosting their Season Finals this upcoming weekend as athletes across all sectors make the final push to be at the top of the standings when the last competition is complete.
The three Nordic disciplines will all travel to Norway where Cross-Country Skiing and Nordic Combined have their final stop on the 2014/15 World Cup tours. It has been a busy month for the Nordic family, which started with the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun (SWE), moved onto Lahti last weekend for another joint tour stop at the Lahti Games followed by this weekend’s finals in Oslo.
In Cross-Country Skiing, the Norwegians are poised to add to their collection of honours as they are in pole position in nearly every event across all distances. Marit Bjoergen (NOR) is aiming to take all three crystal globes, while the men’s globes have a handful of candidates in the running.
In Nordic Combined, Eric Frenzel (GER) dominates the standings with a more than 200-point lead, but the battle for a top-three season finish will go down to the wire as Akito Watabe (JPN), Bernhard Gruber (AUT) and Fabian Riessle (GER) are all separated by a mere 21 points.
Ski Jumping will conclude in Planica (SLO) next weekend for the finals in Ski Flying and it will be a fight to the finish with less than 40 points separating Stefan Kraft (AUT), Severin Freund (GER).
Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard
Freestyle Skiing will hold finals in halfpipe, slopestyle, moguls and ski cross all in the upcoming week. First up is halfpipe on Thursday in Tignes (FRA) where Ayana Onozuka (JPN) and Janina Kuzma (NZL) each sit on 160 points, while the men’s winner will also come down to the wire between Americans David Wise and Gus Kenworthy. The slopestyle finals in Silvaplana (SUI) are wide open.
Megeve (FRA) will be the highlight for both moguls and ski cross. In moguls, the crystal globes are likely headed to North America with all top three ladies hailing from Canada and USA, and two of the top three men in a season that has been dominated by the big name veterans.
Two Swedes are in the hunt for the men’s and ladies Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup season title. Anna Holmlund currently leads the ladies’ field by 108 points ahead of nearest competitor Fanny Smith (SUI). Meanwhile on the men’s side, Viktor Oehling Norberg sits in second place, chasing Jean Fredric Chapuis (FRA), who holds a 98-point advantage.
The aerials crystal globes already found their home in America as Kiley McKinnon and Mac Bohonnen took top honours for Team USA.
Snowboard cross will hold its Season Finals on 20th and 21st March 2015 in La Molina (SPA). Meanwhile, the FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup season comes to an end this weekend with the last slopestyle event of a long winter staged in Spindleruv Mlyn (CZE). While Cheryl Maas (NED) has already locked in both crystal globes, super star Janne Korpi (FIN) is likely to claim the globes on the men’s side.
The FIS Alpine Snowboard World Cup tour wraps up with the last parallel slalom of the season in Winterberg (GER) on 14th March 2015. While the winter sport resort will host a comeback on the alpine snowboard World Cup circuit after an absence of ten years, several riders are battling in tight duels for the crystal globes with Julie Zogg (SUI) and Zan Kosir (SLO) being the odds-on favourites.
After technical races this weekend in Åre (SWE) for the ladies and Kranjska Gora (SLO) for the men, the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season finals will be held in Meribel (FRA) with the first race on 18th March when the downhill globes are handed out. A complete preview of the week of action will be featured in next week’s Newsflash.