With more medal events, athletes and flair than ever before, snowboard grew into a spectator favourite at PyeongChang 2018.
The sport appeared in the Paralympic Winter Games for the second time, with banked slalom joining snowboard-cross as a discipline.
That momentum is expected to carry over, and here are some storylines to keep in mind heading into the 2018-19 season:
How strong can the USA get?
US riders topped the medals table, winning five of the 10 events in PyeongChang. It was similar to their results from the 2017 World Championships in Big White, Canada, where they also tallied the most medals with seven, including three golds.
The dates and location for the 2019 World Championships will be announced later this year, and expect the US to have another strong showing. Paralympic champions Brenna Huckaby, Noah Elliot, Mike Minor and Mike Schultz do not seem to be done just yet.
Return from injuries
Australia’s Joany Badenhorst had to pull out of the Paralympics due to an injury suffered in training in PyeongChang. It was unfortunate for the overall World Cup winner in the women’s SB-LL2. She endured a similar situation at Sochi 2014. But at 23 years old, Badenhorst can already turn her focus to next season.
The same goes for France’s Maxime Montaggioni, who also won the season’s crystal globe and was expected to go for medals in the men’s SB-UL category but got injured during training. Montaggioni was the world champion in banked slalom and snowboard-cross silver medallist from Big White 2017.
Homegrown athletes for Beijing 2022
Beijing, China, will host the next Paralympic Winter Games, and four Chinese snowboarders are expected to return for their home Games. Zhou Chen, Zihao Jiang, Gengliang Liu and Qui Sun are all 19 and under, and expect to see more of them in the seasons to come.
Growth in women’s categories
The women’s SB-LL1 saw five athletes compete in both disciplines, and at most eight in the SB-LL2. While the competition is tight among both categories, a fresh wave of female riders could come in the next Paralympic cycle.
Veterans Bibian Mentel-Spee and Amy Purdy are top riders in the women’s SB-LL2 and SB-LL1 categories, respectively and have already left their legacy in helping get the sport in the Games. Whether or not they will return for another season is unknown.
The official website of PyeongChang 2018 can be found here.