And just like that, it’s over.
Due to a combination of factors that include the shutdown of the entire region of Lombardy as the Italian government looks to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and a stretch of warm weather that weakened the snowpack in Winterberg (GER) and made the venue unsuitable for the parallel slalom and PSL team World Cup finals that were scheduled for this upcoming weekend, the 2019/20 FIS Alpine Snowboard season has come to quick and unforeseeable conclusion under unfortunate circumstances.
The day after it was announced on Saturday evening that the Livigno (ITA) PSL competition was cancelled due to the government decree to quarantine Lombardy, the Winterberg competition was also cancelled after a snow control inspection on Sunday found the slope to be too deteriorated from warm and wet weather to host World Cup racing.
While FIS officials and the Snowboard Germany moved quickly to find a replacement venue, with just a few short days before the scheduled start of training for this weekend’s hoped-for events it was not possible to find a suitable host and organise all the necessary pieces in such a short time.
However, despite such an inauspicious conclusion, the 2019/20 season was still a hugely successful one, with a string of top-tier events put on by committed and motivated organisers at venues new and established, and thrilling head-to-head battles by the world’s best carvers at every stop.
With the last two stops of the season wiped off the calendar, the final 2019/20 World Cup standings for parallel slalom and parallel overall are official and the globes are set for their journeys to four separate nations in Europe.
Hofmeister dominates women’s season overall, while Zogg takes second-straight PSL title
The biggest winner of the season on the women’s side of things - and the most dominant rider of the year in any of the five FIS Snowboard events - is Germany’s Ramona Theresia Hofmeister, who recorded a season for the ages as she took the parallel overall and parallel giant slalom crystal globes.
Hofmeister racked up six victories on the season (including a streak of four-straight from December 8 to January 14), as well as one runner-up and one third-place finish for 8 podiums in 10 competitions. On top of this, she earned two PSL team wins with her teammate Stefan Baumeister.
Finishing the season with 8,260 points to end up nearly 3,000 points ahead of her next closest competitor Julie Zogg (SUI), Hofmeister’s season was nothing short of exceptional, and the 23-year-old impressed with her ability to get the job done in both PGS and PSL competition, where she finished second overall.
First overall on the PSL final rankings went to the above-mentioned Zogg, as the reigning world champion and 2018/19 crystal globe winner in PSL was able to repeat her title in 2019/20, taking what was in fact her third career PSL World Cup title on the strength of two wins and a third-place finish in the three competitions this season.
Zogg not only excelled on the tight track, however, as she also finished second to Hofmeister on the parallel overall final standings with some strong PGS results throughout the season - including a win in PyeongChang on the 2018 Olympic slope.
Third place in both the parallel slalom and parallel overall rankings was Hofmeister’s teammate Selina Joerg, who earned five podiums in ten competitions for her third-straight season of finishing in the top-3 of each of the PSL, PGS, and overall standings.
Fischnaller earns first career overall and PGS titles, while Promegger tops in PSL
Over on the men’s side of things, Roland Fischnaller (ITA) made his 23rd season of World Cup competition one to remember, as the 39-year old claimed his first PGS crystal globe at the PGS World Cup finals in Blue Mountain just over a week ago, and will now take home his first career parallel overall globe as the top men’s rider from start-to-finish of the 2019/20 season.
Fischnaller earned three PGS victories on the season to go along with two runner-up results, and only finished outside of the top-10 once all year - in Blue Mountain where he already had the crystal globe locked down. And, had competition gone ahead in Livigno and Winterberg, Fischnaller very much had the possibility of completing the rare crystal globe sweep, as he finishes the season second on the PSL rankings, just 510 points out of top spot.
Instead, the PSL globe will go to Austria’s Andreas Promegger - who, like Fischnaller, is a 39-year-old veteran who’s also been competing on the World Cup stage since the 1996/97 season.
Promegger’s PSL title is the second of his 23-season career, and his fifth crystal globe total in that span, and he claimed the honour by winning two of the three PSL events this season while finishing 10th in the other. While it would have been a thrilling end to the season to see Promegger and Fischnaller battle it out down the homestretch, the Austrian rider is no-doubt happy to take home this season’s biggest PSL prize.
Third-place on the PSL rankings - and second on the parallel overall rankings - goes to 26-year-old Stefan Baumeister, who caps off an incredible year for the German alpine SB team with a pair of medals. Baumeister finished in the top-10 in eight of 10 competitions this season, including two third-place results in PSL, as well as earning the above-mentioned two PSL team wins with his partner Hofmeister.
And, finally, taking third place on the men’s parallel overall standings (as well as third on the PGS standings) is reigning double world champion Dmitry Loginov (RUS). With a win at the final PGS competition of the season in Blue Mountain, Loginov able to leapfrog his teammate and last season’s overall winner Andrey Sobolev to earn the highest end-of-season ranking of his young career.
Unfortunately, with only two PSL team events completed in 2019/20, there will be no globe awarded in that category this season.