No matter what Julie Zogg (SUI) might win this season, she has already claimed more hardware – the three-time Olympian got married in the summer to cap a second world championship-winning campaign.
“It was a perfect year for me,” Zogg said. “I was able to become world champion and I was able to marry the man of my dreams. The wedding was wonderful and I am very grateful that I was able to experience it.”
How did Zogg’s wedding compare with winning a second world title?
“These two days were the best days of my life,” the 31-year-old said.
Zogg claimed the 2022/23 parallel slalom crystal globe and overall parallel title and returns to defend her crown.
The two-time world champion, who debuted on the World Cup tour in 2007, is out to prove she still has what it takes to stay at the top. Gunning for her sixth successive parallel slalom crystal globe, and career seventh, Zogg won two World Cup races and the world title in the discipline last year and is out for more.
“The goal for me is always to defend the crystal globes,” Zogg said. “But a lot of things have to come together to win them. As long as I still have space at home, it’s always a motivation for me to win the World Cup and the crystal globes.”
The Swiss star will have plenty of contenders nipping at her heels, and Ramona Theresia Hofmeister (GER) leads the pack.
The German rider hit the World Cup podium four times last season, taking one gold and three silvers.
And the 27-year-old will be gunning for revenge as Zogg stopped her from claiming a fourth straight overall title in 2022/23. Hofmeister will be the favourite in every PGS race she starts.
Elsewhere, an Olympic champion in two sports, Ester Ledecka (CZE) has once again been training for both Alpine skiing and snowboarding.
The PGS Olympic champion in both 2018 and 2022, Ledecka will be one to watch in any event she enters. The 28-year-old Czech finished second and first in the final two races of last season.
‘So happy’ Kwiatkowski leads open men’s field
The men’s side is wide open. Eight different riders topped the podium in the 13 events last season, including the World Cup and world championships, and the depth of talent will be on display again for 2023/24.
The 2023 PGS world champion Oskar Kwiatkowski (POL) will be a solid contender throughout the year. He is coming off his best season yet having reached four World Cup podiums including his first two career wins.
The 27-year-old Polish rider has been training in Finland and keeping his prep the same in the hope of another successful season, which for the first time visits his homeland – and he is pumped.
“I am so happy about the World Cup coming to Poland,” Kwiatkowski said. “It was my dream to have this kind of race in my country. I am so happy. I can’t wait to see the hill.”
Austrian Fabian Obmann’s results, meanwhile, improved dramatically last season as he claimed the overall and parallel titles, and the 27-year-old will be back to defend his crystal globes.
He will also be one to watch in the mixed team events after winning the final team competition last season.
Three of Obmann’s compatriots also deserve a mention. Andreas Prommegger (AUT) is the parallel slalom world champion, while Alexander Payer (AUT) and Benjamin Karl (AUT), like Prommegger, also claimed Word Cup victories last season and are contenders for the overall crown.
Lee Sangho (KOR) made history as the first Korean snowboarder to win a World Cup title in 2022. He followed it up with another podium in Canada in January 2023 and will set out once again to lead the way for Asia in snowboard Alpine.
Italy’s leading riders will also be in contention for the crystal globe. Roland Fischnaller (ITA) and Maurizio Bormolini (ITA) both won two World Cup races last season. They will be leading a solid Italian team and will be challenging for the top in every race.
THE VENUES & SCHEDULE
The fresh powder snow in the wintry northern hemisphere means another thrilling season of the FIS Snowboard Alpine World Cup is almost upon us. The 2023/24 season takes in 12 stops across eight countries spanning two continents.
This year’s tour will feature six parallel slaloms, nine parallel giant slaloms and four team competitions. The World Cup will be the main showcase as there will be no world championships or Olympics this season. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of the stunning race venues.
The sprint down the Alpine slopes begins on December 14 in the majestic Italian Dolomites. Carezza will host the first race to kick off the season. The riders will then make the 85km jaunt to Cortina for another PGS race on December 16.
The tour then makes its inaugural stop at the famed Davos resort in Switzerland. The racers will compete in a parallel slalom event just before Christmas (December 23). After the holiday break, the tour returns to Switzerland for a PGS race in Scuol on January 13.
Action moves to Bad Gastein, Austria on January 16-17. In keeping with tradition, the individual parallel slalom event here will take place first on the Tuesday, with finals scheduled to go down under the lights at 18:15 CET. Bad Gastein is the longest-running venue of all FIS Snowboard World Cups, having hosted events since the 2000/2001 season. The second night will feature the campaign’s first mixed team event, with men and women racing to bring their country some hardware.
On January 20-21 the riders will take on back-to-back parallel slaloms in Pamporovo, Bulgaria. The tight schedule continues as the boarders bounce over to Rogla, Slovenia for a PGS on January 25. The month’s Alpine action closes with a PGS and mixed team PGS event in Austria’s Simonhöhe on January 27-28.
February brings another action-packed schedule starting with a trip across the pond to Craigleith, Canada on February 15-16. The riders will take on a PGS double along the shores of Georgian Bay.
The tour then makes that first-ever stop in Poland on February 24-25, when Krynica will host a PGS double – the first Snowboard World Cup event in the country.
The tour concludes in March with two events in Germany. On March 9-10 Winterberg hosts the penultimate stop with a parallel and mixed team event.
The World Cup tour reaches its grand finale on March 16-17 in Berchtesgaden with two events.