After a hugely successful snowboard cross World Championships competition went down two weeks ago in Idre Fjall (SWE), the revamped schedule for 2021 FIS Snowboard World Championships competitions rolls on this week in Rogla (SLO), where the biggest parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom races of the season are set take place on from the 1st to 2nd of March, 2021.
Due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the season and measures implemented by the Chinese health authorities and government, the originally scheduled FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships in Zhangjiakou (CHN) had to be cancelled back in December. However, the disappointment of that news has been essentially wiped away since the New Year, as organisers including Idre Fjall, Aspen (USA) and of course Rogla have stepped up as last-minute hosts for World Championships competition at their venues.
Rogla has been an outstanding host of FIS Snowboard Alpine World Cup action since joining the circuit as a venue back in the 2012/13 season, with one of the more dynamic courses on tour and a strong and dedicated organising committee who are thoroughly invested in creating the best possible experience for athletes and fans alike. And while the fan aspect of the World Championships in Rogla may be limited by the current pandemic situation, there’s no doubt that the athletes will be treated to outstanding competition days, with clear weather in the forecast and a race slope primed for action.
WHO TO WATCH - WOMEN
Although she only has one FIS Snowboard World Cup start to her name this season, there’s no doubt about which rider looms largest as the one to watch this week, as Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic has traded in her skis for a board (for this week at least) and is on site at one of her favourite venues in the world in Rogla.
Ledecka is fresh off of a pair of impressive but heartbreaking finishes at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina D’Ampezzo (ITA), where the 25 year-old ended up just off the podium in fourth place in both the downhill and the super G. While the reigning Olympic champion needs no extra motivation to assert herself once again as the fastest woman on a snowboard, you can count on those near-misses at the ski world champs competitions to only add fuel to her fire in Rogla.
All of the above doesn’t even touch on Ledecka’s history at the Slovenia resort, which is nothing short of incredible: in seven starts at Rogla, Ledecka has five victories, including four wins in her last four starts dating back to the 2015/16 season.
Ledecka loves Rogla, and after the two-sport athlete was forced to miss the Utah 2019 World Snowboard Championships due to an overlap with the FIS Alpine Ski world champs, Rogla stands as prime venue for her to add to her collection of three previous World Championships medals.
However, also in attendance in Rogla will be the reigning PGS and PSL world champions, with Utah 2019 PGS gold medallist Selina Joerg (GER) and Utah 2019 PSL gold medallist Julie Zogg (SUI) both riding well so far this season and more than likely to be in the hunt for medals come finals time.
Joerg has two PGS and one PSL podium so far this season and has only finished outside of the top-10 once in eight competitions thus far, putting her in second place on a PGS World Cup rankings that features an all-German top-3, with Ramona Theresia Hofmeister in the lead and Cheyenne Loch sitting in second.
Hofmeister has been the most dominant rider on tour over the past two seasons, having really come into her own since the last World Championships in the USA. The PGS and parallel overall crystal globe winner from last season is once again the overall World Cup leader so far in 2020/21, making Hofmeister the most formidable challenge to Ledecka ahead of competition in Rogla.
Others to watch on the PGS side of things include rising star Sofia Nadyrisha (RSF), as the 17 year-old comes into Rogla sitting in fourth overall behind the Germans on the World Cup standings. With a win and a third-place finish in PGS action this year (as well as a win and a runner-up in PSL racing) Nadyrshina has emerged as one of the sport’s best in just her second season on tour.
Further down the PGS standings, you can look to Ladina Jenny (SUI), Tsubaki Miki (JPN), and Carolin Langenhorst as some dark horse candidates to challenge for medals this week in Rogla, as well.
Turning to PSL competition at this week’s World Championships in Rogla, the above-mentioned Zogg comes into the event once again looking strong, as the defending gold medallist and two-time reigning PSL crystal globe winner currently sits in second on the World Cup standings. Fresh off a win at the most recent PSL World Cup in Bannoye, Zogg appears to be heating up at just the right time to defend her Utah 2019 World Championships title.
However, the name above her on the rankings could throw a wrench into those plans, as the young rider Nadyrshina that we were just discussing is currently the top PSL rider on the women’s side. As mentioned, she’s got two podiums and a sixth-place finish in three events this year, and though her lack of experience could come into play come race day, she’s proven she has the speed for the podium at what will be her first career world champs.
Cheyenne Loch sits third overall on the World Cup rankings behind Nadyrshina and Zogg, and the 26 year-old is in the midst of the best season of her career. Loch finished just off the podium in fourth at the Sierra Nevada 2017 World Championships PSL event, and she could very well be on course to make the leap onto the podium this time around.
Daniela Ulbing of Austria, Sochi 2014 Olympic gold medallist Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland, and any of the riders we mentioned above in the PGS section should also be in the mix come PSL finals time on Monday.
And finally, watch out for Claudia Riegler, as the most-experienced alpine snowboarder in World Cup and World Championships history gets set to drop in on what will be her 23rd and 24th world champs races.
WHO TO WATCH - MEN
Over on the men’s side of things, the rider sitting atop the parallel overall and PSL standings just happens to be the same man who rolls into Rogla seeking to defend his double gold-medal performance from the Utah 2019 World Championships, as Dmitry Loginov (RSF) is looking strong ahead of this week’s showdowns.
Back in 2019 a then 19 year-old Loginov became the first rider to simultaneously own Junior World Championships and World Snowboard Championships gold medals in both PSL and PGS events.
Now 21 years old, Loginov has continued to assert himself as the best young rider in the world and comes into competition in Rogla on a hot streak, having claimed wins in both the PSL and PGS competitions on home soil at the most recent World Cups in Bannoye. Able to consistently rise to the occasion in the most high-pressure of situations, Loginov could very well become the first snowboarder in world champs history to put down back-to-back double gold medal performances.
If you zoom out a little bit though, you’ll see that Loginov’s current place atop the rankings doesn’t tell the whole story, as before his pair of wins in Bannoye he had shown signs of struggle so far in 2020/21 World Cup action, with some inconsistent results and only one other podium - a runner-up in the Bad Gastein PSL.
In fact, inconsistency has been the name of the game up and down the men’s rankings so far this season, with both the PGS and PSL World Cup standings seeing the riders ranked 1-10 separated by 100 points or less.
On the PGS standings it’s Loginov’s teammate Igor Sluev (another 21 year-old) who has a win and a runner-up result so far this season to lead the way with 214 points, where he’s followed closely by three of the sport’s all-time greats in Benjamin Karl (AUT), Roland Fischnaller (ITA) and Andreas Prommegger (AUT) - all riders with World Championships gold to their names.
In fact, both Karl and Prommegger have also pulled off the feat of double gold at the same world champs competition, with Prommegger doing it two years before Loginov at the Sierra Nevada 2017 event, and Karl doing it at La Molina 2011.
No rider in history has more than Karl’s four total World Championships golds, and the 35 year-old has two PGS podiums this season including one victory. 40 year-old Prommegger, meanwhile, is the reigning PSL crystal globe winner and has podiums in both PSL and PGS competition in 2020/21. And as for Fischnaller, another 40 year-old veteran rider, his PGS and parallel overall crystal globes from 2019/20 and his win at this season’s PGS opener in Cortina tell you that he’s still got the chops to fight for victory in Rogla this week, even if his World Cup results over the past couple of months have been somewhat underwhelming.
Others to watch out for on the men’s side in Rogla include the Italian team, with the likes of Edwin Coratti, Aaron March and Mirko Felicetti, Germany’s Stefan Baumeister, and Slovenia’s own Tim Mastnak, who was the silver medallist two years ago in Utah.
The PGS competition in Rogla is set to get underway on Monday, March 1 with qualifications at 9:00 CET and finals at 14:00. The PSL event will follow up on Tuesday, March 2 with qualifications at 9:00 and finals at 14:45.
Monday - PGS
Eurosport 1 (Asia), Eurosport 2 (Europe), Eurosport player, ORF 1(Austria), BNT 3 (Bulgaria), CBC Sports streaming (Canada), CT Sport (Czech Republic), Viaplay (Denmark), YLE TV2 (Finland), L’Equipe (France), Arena4+ (Hungary), Rai Sport (Italy), Ziggo Docu (Netherlands), Viasat Sport 1 (Norway), Polsat Sports News (Poland), SLO 2 (Slovenia), SRF Zwei (Switzerland), TRT Sport 2 (Turkey), live streaming on Olympic Channel (USA).
Tuesday - PSL
Eurosport player, ORF 1(Austria), BNT 3 (Bulgaria), CBC Sports streaming (Canada), CT Sport (Czech Republic), Viaplay (Denmark), YLE TV2 (Finland), L’Equipe Web (France), sportschau.de (Germany) Arena4+ (Hungary), Rai Sport (Italy), Ziggo Docu (Netherlands), Viasat Sport 1 (Norway), Polsat Sports News (Poland), Matche Game (Russia), SLO 2 (Slovenia), SRF Zwei + RTS 2 (Switzerland), TRT Sport 2 (Turkey), live streaming on Olympic Channel (USA).
Live streaming will also be available on our Youtube channel here: PGS & PSL. Please note that due to broadcasting rights restrictions, live streaming may not be available in your region. Full list of countries with the live streaming available can be found HERE.