We’re now less than four weeks away from the start of the 2023/24 FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup season, which is set to get underway in France’s Les Deux Alpes beginning with qualifications on Friday, 1 December, followed by finals on Saturday 2 December.
This season marks one of the rare winters with no World Championships or Olympic Winter Games to look forward to, meaning that the World Cup and the end of season crystal globe trophies will be the top priorities for the best SBX riders on the planet in 2023/24.
Read on for a closer look at what’s to come over the course of the next five months…
The race in Les Deux Alpes will be the first of 14 FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup competitions slated to take place this season, making 2023/24 the most action-packed SBX calendar since the 2017/18 campaign.
After Les Deux Alpes the tour will move on to Cervinia (ITA) from 15-17 December for one individual race as well as the lone team competition of the 2023/24 season, before breaking for an extended holiday recess.
The tour restarts from 25-26 January 2024 with a big one, as we make our inaugural World Cup stop in St. Moritz (SUI) for the test event race at the future site of the Engadin-St. Moritz 2025 FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships.
St. Moritz is the first of three straight stops featuring brand new venues for the 2023/24 World Cup season, as we follow up the World Champs test event with a return to the 2023 World Championships host nation of Georgia for Gudauri’s debut as an SBX World Cup host from 02-04 February with back-to-back competitions.
Immediately following the Gudauri event will be the third and final new venue to premier in 2023/24, with Kayseri resort set to become just the second-ever Turkish SBX World Cup stop when competition takes place there from 09-10 February. While this one is still to be confirmed, hopes are high for a return to Turkey this season.
After that three-competitions-in-three-weeks stint the athletes will have a couple weeks off to rest before a mad dash through March to finish off the winter, with back-to-back competitions from 01-03 March in Sierra Nevada (ESP) leading off four straight weekends of SBX World Cup competition to cap off the 2023/24 season.
Following Sierra Nevada it’s back to the Italian Alps from 08-09 March for night racing in Cortina d’Ampezzo at the future home of Olympic SBX competition for the Milano-Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games.
From there we’ve got another long-time World Cup host with a big event on the horizon lined up, as future home of the 2027 World Championships, Montafon (AUT), returns to the calendar after an off-year last season.
Finally, it’s over to Canada for our lone North American race of the 2023/24 SBX World Cup, as we close out the winter for the second straight season in Mt. St. Anne, home of one of the most exciting venues in snowboard cross and an event sure to cap off the winter on an epic high once again.
It’ll be all eyes on Charlotte Bankes (GBR) and Martin Noel (GER) to begin the season once again in 2023/24, with both riders coming into the campaign as two-time defending crystal globe winners.
In 2022/23 Bankes put together one of the most dominant campaigns we’ve ever see on the SBX World Cup, registering seven podiums in nine races – including an incredible string of six straight victories from Cervinia in December through to the first of the back-to-back Mt. St. Anne races at the season finale.
Throw in the snowboard cross team event gold medal from the Bakuriani 2023 FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships and you’ve got quite the season indeed for the now 28-year-old.
For the most part, Bankes’ biggest competition in 2023/24 is going to come from the usual suspects of the women’s SBX elite, with last winter’s second overall World Cup finisher and Bakuriani 2023 SBX team bronze medallist Chloe Trespeuch (FRA), Bakuriani 2023 World Champion Eva Adamczykova (CZE), Beijing 2022 Olympic gold medallist and SBX GOAT Lindsey Jacobellis (USA), Idre Fjall 2021 SBX team gold medallist Bellle Brockhoff (AUS), and two-time Olympic medallist Michaela Moioli (ITA) – freshly back from injury – leading the way.
However, there is also some new blood to watch out for, as 20-year-old Australian Josie Baff last year staked her claim amongst the world’s very best with a breakout season in which she finished third-overall on the World Cup rankings while also claiming Bakuriani 2023 silver just behind Adamzykova. With four podiums last season – including wins at the first and final races of the winter – Baff has shown she’s very much set to be a serious SBX contender moving forward.
Another one to watch out for on the comeback trail from injury will be Canada’s Meryeta Odine, Beijing 2022 Olympic bronze medallist in both the individual and the team competitions. Odine missed all of last season due to a fractured tibia, so it may be a big ask to see her back in the podium mix in the early going of 2023/24, but we predict a return to form for her by the season’s latter stages.
It’s been a long and perhaps unlikely road to get here, but now, as he enters the 15th season of his World Cup career, Martin Noerl sits atop the world of men’s SBX as the back-to-back crystal globe winner and Bakuriani 2023 World Championships silver medallist.
Noerl earned three victories and five total podiums in World Cup action last season to lead the standings. While it wasn’t a perfect season by any means for the 30-year-old German, as he saw three results outside the top-10 in the middle of the winter, his ability to rebound from those results and finish the campaign strong gave him a comfortable 74 point lead over second-overall finisher Lucas Eguibar (ESP) when the dust had settled.
Of course, any talk of one rider’s success in 2022/23 needs to be qualified by discussing the abbreviated season for reigning Beijing 2022 Olympic champion Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria, who was only able to start in four races last season.
No rider has been more consistently successful than Haemmerle over the past eight seasons, as the 30-year-old finished in the top-3 overall every year from 2015/16 to 2021/22 – including a string of three straight crystal globes from 2018/19 to 2020/21. While Noerl was able to beat Haemmerle cleanly in the race for the 2021/22 globe, Haemmerle’s absence for much of last season certainly made the job easier for Noerl in his repeat bid. A few of the others to watch out for on the men’s side of things include Haemmerle’s Austrian compatriot and Bakuriani 2023 World Champion Jakob Dusek, Idre Fjall (SWE) 2021 World Champion and last season’s World Cup second-overall Eguibar, Canadian young gun and two-time Beijing 2022 Olympic medallist Elliott Grondin, Beijing 2022 Olympic and Bakuriani 2023 World Championship bronze medallist Omar Visintin (ITA), and Bakuriani 2023 SBX team bronze medallist Merlin Surget (FRA).