The first FIS Snowboard Parallel Slalom World Cup competition of the season went down on Tuesday night with Sofia Nadyrshina (RUS) winning the women’s race to take her second consecutive World Cup victory, while Aaron March (ITA) took the win over on the men’s side of things with his first top spot in almost 11 years.
For the 21st straight season the individual PSL competition in Bad Gastein went down in style, with world’s best athletes pushing it to the limit all day long, and especially during the finals under the lights. Numerous tight heats went down on the night while ideal weather and course conditions allowed the riders on hand to deliver an exciting showcase of top snowboard racing.
In the women’s event it was the rising Russian star Nadyrshina who extended her winning streak, taking her second career World Cup victory after claiming her very first in Scuol (SUI) just three days ago in PGS competition. On Tuesday Nadyrshina dominated the individual PSL competition in Bad Gastein, continuing a breakout season that in which she has now added her second consecutive victory on the World Cup tour to go along with three gold medals won at the FIS Junior Snowboard World Championships in Lachtal earlier this season.
In Bad Gastein once again Nadyrshina was on a mission all day long, setting the fastest time early in the qualifications and then storming through her finals heats in some tough match-ups against the likes of Melanie Hochreiter (GER), Ladina Jenny (SUI) and Selina Joerg (GER) on her way to the big final, where she met her third opponent from the German Snowboard Team that evening - Cheyenne Loch.
Once in the big final Nadyrshina showed her explosiveness and launched it straight from the starting gate with a substantial advantage over Loch already after the first couple of gates. Loch would try to close the gap through the lower sections of the course, however, just when it looked like she was about to catch the 17 year-old Russian, Loch came wide on the penultimate gate, leaving Nadyrshina to celebrate her career’s first PSL win.
“This is such a great experience for me”, said Nadyrshina through a translator, “Last season I finished twice in second place and now I managed to get back-to-back victories. It feels amazing and there are just so many emotions I can’t even describe them. Thanks to all my coaches and all the support I get from my team.”
Despite losing to Nadyrshina in the big final, with the second place on the night Loch recorded her best results so far this season.
Rounding out the women’s podium in third place was Selina Joerg (GER), who edged out the PSL specialist Julie Zogg in the small final.
While the competition in Bad Gastein was the first stop on PSL tour in 2020/21, the discipline ranking reflects the standing on the day. However, there’s been an interesting development in the parallel overall ranking, as with the victory on Tuesday Nadyrshina has now jumped into first place overall with 274 points after four competitions. Ramona Theresia Hofmeister dropped to second with 264 points, while Joerg is following behind in third place with 240 points.
Things were equally exciting over in the men’s event, where the Russian Snowboard Team was looking especially strong on the day with Andrey Sobolev leading his teammates Dmitriy Karlagachev, Dmitry Sarsembaev and Igor Sluev to take the respective first, second, third and fourth place in the qualification round.
But later in the evening it was in fact Dmitry Loginov, who would climb his way through all the way to the big final, where he would meet the Italian veteran Aaron March. There in the big final there was more than a bit of drama, as though Loginov would edge March in the race for the finish line, a video control review revealed that Loginov initiated a jump turn in the middle of his run in which he swung the tail of his board out over the stubby before it his board had fully gone around the gate. As his entire board did not make it around the gate, he was labelled as DNF on his final run and had to settle for second in heartbreaking fashion.
With Loginov moved down to second place, it was 34-year-old March, who was awarded with the win on Tuesday, for his second top-3 result in the season, but most importantly for his first win in almost 11 years.
“It’s a little bit surprising to win today,” explained March after the awards ceremony, “Obviously after crossing the finish line I thought I’m in second place, but nevertheless I was riding good. I had a good feeling especially in the last ten gates or so and this is where I was winning my heats today. I wasn’t very happy with my result in the qualifications so I really wanted to show in the finals that I can be fast, and yeah I did my best and of course victory feels great now.”
Third place on the day went to Austria’s Andreas Prommegger, who won the head-to-head battle against Saturday’s winner from Scuol Igor Sluev.
With his second top-3 results in the 2020/21 World Cup campaign, Prommegger has now moved atop the parallel overall standing after Bad Gastein’s individual competition, leading the way with 221 points. Benjamin Karl (AUT) dropped to second place, just one back of his teammate Prommegger with 220 points, while Tuesday’s winner Aaron March jumped into third place with 212 points after four competitions.
The parallel slalom extravaganza in Bad Gastein continues on Wednesday with the first team competition of the season, which is set to go down with finals beginning at 13:00 CET.