In the lead-up to the 2020/21 FIS Snowboard World Cup season we'll be interviewing some of last season's crystal globe winners to find out what they've been up to in the off-season, what they're looking forward as we head into winter, and hopefully a little bit more about what it's like behind the scenes for some of snowboarding's top riders. Today we're catching up with 2019/20 parallel giant slalom and parallel overall World Cup winner Roland Fischnaller of Italy…
FIS - You made your 23rd season of World Cup competitions one to remember, claiming your very first PGS crystal globe while also taking home your first parallel overall globe. All that while leading the men’s ranking from start-to-finish. What did the last season and those two crystal globes mean to you?
Roland Fischnaller - Of course those two globes means a lot to me. I’ve always dreamed of winning the overall globe, because it means that you are the best in that season. In Italy there are many athletes that have medals from big events like the Olympic Games or World Championships, but there are only a few who won the World Cup big globe. On the men’s side it’s just Thöni, Gros, Tomba and Fischnaller. That sound’s crazy. So yes, this overall globe makes me very happy.
FIS - What made this past campaign so special and what was the decisive factor that drove you to the top of the World Cup ranking?
RF - I think the most important factor was all the hard work over the summer. I’m lucky to live in South Tyrol, where I have some very good summer ski areas just one hour drive from home. So I was testing different boards all summer long and I found a setup that works perfectly with my style of riding. But also I think we have one of the strongest teams on tour and strong support from our federation and that of course helps a lot.
FIS - What's the biggest thing that you’ve learned, personally, in this past season?
RF - What I learnt this past season is that I’m very lucky to have a job that I love so much. I enjoy racing like never before and I appreciate a lot to be a top-level athlete.
FIS - Obviously it was an off-season unlike any we’ve ever seen before, with the pandemic going on. What did you do to stay level and stay focused even with everything going on in the world?
RF - In the situation when almost every day you hear some bad news, I was just saying to myself “Roland every day is a good day so stay happy.” I trained every day and I have three kids so there’s always a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.
FIS - What’s in store for you when it comes to preparations before the season kicks off in your home South Tyrol with back-to-back races in Cortina d’Ampezzo and Carezza in just a couple of weeks from now?
RF - Together with the Italian Snowboard Team we had a lot of good trainings days this fall so we can’t wait to finally get back to racing. It looks like that as a team we did a great job in recent years, because now almost every nation is coming to Passo Stelvio to train at our home spot and enjoy the mountains. That makes me proud.
FIS - Going into a new season with World Championships in February, what are your main focus points? Will another crystal globe be on the list of goals? World Championships medal?
RF - My goal for the next season is to stay healthy and enjoy every race, hoping that we have a lot of them this season. Then of course I will try to stay up front with the best guys in every race and show that hard work pays off.
FIS - What is it that you love most about snowboarding?
RF - The thing I love so much in alpine snowboarding is to shred down the slopes with a lot of speed. By the way, my top speed one day was 151 kph! Of course I love carving with full speed on beautiful mountains, enjoying nature and exploring where my limits are even now when I’m 40-year-old.