The FIS Snowboard Alpine World Cup was back in action on Saturday for its first race of 2021, with parallel giant slalom racing taking to the sunny slopes of Switzerland’s Scuol resort, where the Russian duo of up-and-comers Sofia Nadyrshina and Igor Sluev each claimed their maiden World Cup victories.
For the fourth straight year, the Swiss Alps resort of Scuol hosted snowboard alpine World Cup action, and once again the organisers were up to the task, providing a perfectly prepared course - while Mother Nature provided the perfect weather. With everything in place for an excellent contest the world’s best alpine snowboarders pushed it to the limit all day long, and once again the event in Scuol proved to be a big success.
In the women’s competition Sofia Nadryshina was on a mission on Saturday as she stormed to her career’s first World Cup victory at the same venue, where a year ago she claim her very first World Cup top-3.
Nadyrshina started the day on a high by setting the fastest time in the qualification round, before winning some exciting finals match-ups against the likes of Daniela Ulbling (AUT), Melanie Hochreiter (GER), Julie Zogg (SUI), to punch her ticket to a showdown with Ramona Theresia Hofmeister (GER) in the big final.
Making the big final heat even more exciting was the fact that Hofmeister and Nadyrshina also battled for victory last year in Scuol. And while it was the German rider who triumphed on the slope at Motta Naluns in 2020, in the rematch it was Nadyrshina making no mistake, racing superbly from top to bottom against the current World Cup leader Hofmeister to finally cross the finish line .15s ahead of the German to claim the first World Cup win of her career.
After winning triple Junior World Championships gold just a couple of weeks ago in Lachtal, with the victory in Scuol Nadyrshina added another impressive achievement to her list of records, all at just 17 years old.
Hofmeister’s second-place finish gave her the third top-3 result of her 2020/21 season thus far.
The Swiss fans’ favourite Julie Zogg rounded out the women’s podium in third place after winning a tight small final heat against Claudia Riegler (AUT).
In the women’s standings Hofmeister continues to lead the way with 240 points after three events, while her teammate on the German Snowboard Team Selina Joerg sits in second place with 180 points. Nadyrshina now jumps into third with 176 points.
The men’s portion of the competition in Scuol also provided tons of entertainment for all the fans in front of their screens at home, with Igor Sluev completing a perfect day for the Russian Snowboard Team, while also claiming his very first World Cup victory.
Similarly to his teammate Nadyrshina, Sluev showed some impressive riding earlier in the day in the qualification rounds, setting the second fastest time just behind Tim Mastnak (SLO). Then in the afternoon’s finals Sluev faced some tough opposition from his countryman Dmitry Loginov (RUS), the current World Cup leader Benjamin Karl (AUT) and Stefan Baumeister (GER) on his way to the big final.
In first big final appearance of his career Sluev met another big final rookie in Michal Nowaczyk (POL). After the duo went head-to-head for almost entire length of the course, Nowaczyk lost his backside edge just four gates before the finish line and fell down, leaving 21 year-old Sluev with an easy task of bringing home a huge win for himself and the entire Russian Snowboard Team.
With Sluev on top of the podium, Nowaczyk consequently claimed the second place on the day, capping a huge performance from the Polish rider who was competing in just his career’s second World Cup finals on Saturday.
Third place went to top qualifier Tim Mastnak (SLO), who edged out Stefan Baumeister (GER) in the small final match-up, earning his second top-3 result of 2020/21 at his lucky venue, as he claimed his first World Cup victory at Scoul in 2018 and then earned the PGS World Cup crystal at the resort globe one year later, in 2019.
In the men’s PGS standing Benjamin Karl maintained his lead on top of the field with 200 points. Roland Fischnaller (ITA) sits in second place with 164 points, while Andreas Prommegger (AUT) sits just back in third place with 161 points.
The FIS Snowboard Alpine World Cup will now travel to Austria’s Bad Gastein, where the first PSL race of the season is set to go down in just three days time on Tuesday, January 12, and the first Parallel Slalom Team event following up on Wednesday, January 13.