Parallel giant slalom competition at the Utah 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships took to the slopes of Park City Mountain on Monday afternoon, where Selina Joerg of Germany and Dmitry Loginov of Russia claimed gold medals on a tricky, snowy day of racing.
Conditions on CB’s Run at Park City were difficult throughout qualifiers and finals as a winter storm that has settled over the canyons of Utah hammered the venue with snow. Still, the best ladies and men of alpine snowboarding put up a strong effort in the face of adversity, with two of the world’s most talented carvers emerging victorious.
Joerg’s way to the big final was made easier when she put down the top qualifying time to ensure she would have her choice of course from start to finish of the competition - an advantage she put to good use in dismissing her countrywomen Carolin Langenhorst, Ladina Jenny (SUI), and finally Natalia Soboleva (RUS) in the big final.
“It feels amazing. I can’t believe it,” an overjoyed Joerg said from the finish area before the awards ceremony, “Last year the silver medal at the Olympic was amazing, and then this season I’ve already got one win in the World Cup, but now to be on top here of the world championships…I can’t find words for that.
“I won the qualifications, so I knew I didn’t have to change my strategy. I just stayed on my plan and focused, focused, focused and it worked out.”
A veteran of the tour since the 2004/05 season, the victory was the 31-year-old Joerg’s first world championships medal in 14 attempts.
Soboleva was forced to settle for the silver after crashing out just before the halfway mark of the big final heat, but the 23-year-old was still able to walk away proud after giving the talented Russian squad their first of what would be two podium results on the day.
Rounding out the ladies’ podium in bronze-medal position was Ladina Jenny of Switzerland, after she won the small final heat against reigning Cardrona 2018 PGS junior world champion Milena Bykova (RUS).
Speaking of reigning junior world champions, Bykova and Sobolev’s teammate Dmitry Loginov made some history on Monday in Park City’s men’s PGS world championships, becoming the youngest-ever world PGS champion and the first man to simultaneously hold the junior and world titles at the same time.
Loginov ran through some tough competition on his way to the big final, includign Edwin Coratti (ITA), and his countryman and two-time Olympic gold medallist Vic Wild (RUS), before meeting Tim Mastnak (SLO) in the gold medal showdown.
Unfortunately, while there was potential for an epic big final battle with the veteran Mastnak, the Slovenian would crash out just a few gates into the race, leaving Loginov nothing to do but stay on his feet as he cruised to the historic gold medal.
“I can’t believe it,” Loginov said through a translator, “I’m only 19. I’m the youngest world champion of all time, and it’s just incredible. I’ve competed in conditions like this lots of times, so I was well prepared for today. I knew I needed to to do well in qualifications and I was able to do that, and now I’m the world champion.”
With Mastnak taking the silver, the battle for the bronze came down to a small final showdown between Wild and young Stefan Baumeister (GER), with Baumeister cruising to the victory after Wild got hung up in some sluff after hanging wide on a turn in the middle of the course.
The athletes of FIS Snowboard alpine are slated to get right back to action on Tuesday for the parallel slalom world championships, with qualifications set to begin at 9:00 MST, followed by finals once again at 13:00. However, with the apex of the current storm forecasted to hit Park City during the day tomorrow, delays to the programme are possible.