Alpine Snowboard World Cup kicks off in Italy
This week finally sees the raceboard athletes strapping in to compete in their first World Cup events. While they are the last riders to do so this season, they do it in style with an insane parallel race trilogy scheduled in just three days.
A parallel giant slalom in Carezza on Thursday (Dec 14) will be the prelude to back-to-back races in Cortina d'Ampezzo where both, a parallel giant slalom and one parallel slalom under the lights, will take place on Friday and Saturday (Dec 15 + 16).
It's kind of the same schedule like last year when the two Italian resorts also served as opening stages of the tour.
However, as the most athletes have already locked horns in this season's first Europa Cup last weekend, they aren't in the dark entering the slopes to not only start hunting the coveted Crystal Globes but also their national team spots for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.
Jenny Ladina had an incredible good start to the competition winter placing first and second at the Pitztal Europa Cup. The 24-year-old Swiss racer has also some pleasant associations with Carezza as she earned her career's first World Cup podium two years ago placing second on the Pra di Tori slope. And ever since, she has become a solid competitor on the circuit and will be for sure one to watch out for.
Another rider who hopes to keep the momentum from last weekend is Sabine Schoeffmann, who came out victorious of the second PGS EC last Sunday. However, the Austrian hasn't placed better than rank 6 in Carezza yet but might be pretty confident having wrapped up last season with a win at Winterberg.
Her teammate Ina Meschik has had a great result in Carezza last year when she won the PGS celebrating a double victory for Austria with Benjamin Karl prevailing in the men's race. But the four-time World Champion will miss out the next six weeks due to a severe ankle injury suffered during a training accident on the Carezza race slope last week.
While one star is sidelined from action, one has announced his comeback to the slopes.
Although he won't attend the Carezza event, Zan Kosir, the two-time 2014 Olympic medallist, will start in the Cortina PGS.
But before it's time for the Slovenian to get back into the head-to-head action again, the worlds best will battle in South Tyrol with Radoslav Yankov (BUL) and Andrey Sobolev (RUS), the two dominating athletes of last year's early season, ready to repeat their top World Cup start of last year when they finished third and second, respectively.