Men's alpine snowboard World Cup season preview

10 December 2015 10:15
Zan Kosir dominated the 2014-15 season with eight podium finishes of which three were wins
Zan Kosir dominated the 2014-15 season with eight podium finishes of which three were wins -
Miha Matavz

The 2015-16 World Cup season will get underway with a single format parallel giant slalom in Carezza, Italy. It's the fifth consecutive year the South Tyrolean ski resort is part of the show and the fourth time the world's best raceboarders come together to open their new World Cup winter.

With the sbx race in Cortina d'Ampezzo being substituted by a parallel slalom under the lights due to the lack of snow just the week after Carezza, the carving specialist will have a total of two events in Italy before going into their Christmas break.

The new year then gets started with a psl and team psl event in Bad Gastein, Austria before Rogla, Slovenia (PGS), Moscow, Russia (PSL) as well as new World Cup host Kayseri, Turkey (PGS) take over the main stage.

Like last winter, the season will conclude with a parallel slalom in Winterberg, Germany and will feature a total of seven stops and therefore seven races plus one team event.

 

LAST SEASON

1 – Zan Kosir (SLO, 6,250pts)

2 – Roland Fischnaller (ITA, 4,589pts)

3 – Justin Reiter (USA, 3,680pts)

 

2015 WORLD CHAMPS PGS

1 – Andrey Sobolev (RUS)

2 – Zan Kosir (SLO)

3 – Benjamin Karl (AUT)

 

2015 WORLD CHAMPS PSL

1 – Roland Fischnaller (ITA)

2 – Andrey Sobolev (RUS)

3 – Rok Marguc (SLO)

 

Despite more and more single run format races which tend to give a broader circle of athletes an advantage to make it on the podium, the last alpine snowboard World Cup season was dominated by Zan Kosir who was able to bring home the titles in all three categories: psl, pgs and overall.

After missing the Crystal Globe quite a few times before, the Slovenian rider became the undisputed champion because he was able to keep the momentum from Sochi where he won a silver and a bronze medal.

Finishing the 2014 season with a lot of confidence, the 31-year-old entered last winter with a self-esteem of a national hero and kicked off an incredible streak of eight consecutive podium results of which three were wins.

Kosir, who also had earned pgs silver at the 2015 world champs, only missed the finals of the top-16 in Moscow before he wrapped up his season as fifth in Winterberg, which was enough to clinch the psl title.

The only racer who was able to keep up the blistering pace the Trzic native had set was Roland Fischnaller.

But after two wins and a seventh rank finish in the first three World Cup races and a well-deserved psl gold at the world championships, the 35-year-old from Villnoss lost the momentum before he was back to his real strength in the last two World Cup events.

However, even a win at the World Cup finals in Winterberg wasn't enough for the South Tyrolean to snatch his career's second title.

But going into his 20th (!) World Cup season, the leader of the strong Italian alpine snowboard team is highly motivated to play a major role again.

So are powerhouses Vic Wild (RUS) and Benjamin Karl (AUT). While the US-born racer from Russia managed to bring home his career's best World Cup season result-wise therefore underling that his two gold medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics haven't been a one-hit wonder, Austria's super star has proven over the past years that he is always a podium threat.

In addition, racers like Justin Reiter (USA), pgs world champion Andrey Sobolev (RUS) and Nevin Galmarini (SUI) have also a lot of experience gained over the past seasons to deal with the pressure which comes along the plus of single run format races.

Nevertheless, the old hands have to face some stiff competition from a field of highly talented youngsters which features Mirko Felicetti (ITA), who has been something like the shooting star of last season.

With only three full seasons to his belt so far, the 23-year-old national pgs champion earned his career's three World Cup podium results last season.

In addition, Russian young guns Vladislav Shkurikhin and Valery Kolegov who did play a big role at the last junior worlds alongside Sang-ho Lee (KOR) and Dario Caviezel (SUI) are willing to deliver on the highest level, too.