Not long after the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, snowboarders wasted no time gearing up for the next season that includes the sport’s next biggest event – a World Championships.
The year 2018 concluded with the season’s third World Cup in Pyha, Finland, the very site where riders will return to on 26 March for the 2019 World Championships.
The Pyha World Cup saw Matti Suur-Hamari give Finns plenty to look forward to. The PyeongChang 2018 champion won both his boarder-cross SB-LL2 races at his home World Cup, where the first four-way format was contested. Come March, the Finn will be looking to retain both his cross and banked slalom titles from 2017 at Big White, Canada.
He will have two more World Cups to test himself before the 2019 Worlds.
The next circuit picks up in from 4-7 February in Big White; and then moves to La Molina, Spain, from 4-8 March.
Big White will only feature boarder-cross; while La Molina will hold both disciplines.
The newest talent to keep close watch on is Sun Qi. The Chinese 19-year-old can spoil Suur-Hamari’s home Worlds after blazing to double slalom golds in Landgraaf last November.
Simon Patmore, Sean Pollard and Ben Tudhope showed that you do not need to come from a snowy environment to reach the podiums. The Australians each medalled at the first three World Cups of the 2018-19 season and appear to just be warming up.
In the women’s side, the US women who were dominant at PyeongChang 2018 – including double Paralympic champion Brenna Huckaby – were absent from action at the first three World Cups. But Huckaby is expected to make her season debut sometime before Pyha 2019. So far, the women’s SB-LL1 category has been all about France’s Cecile Hernandez.
The Netherlands’ Lisa Bunschoten is the woman on a roll. She has raced in all three World Cups, winning five of her six races in the SB-LL2 category.
After Pyha 2019, the circuit wraps up in Klovsjo, Sweden, from 2-10 April, when the World Cup crystal globes will be handed out.
Check out more information on Pyha 2019’s official website.