Between the 3rd and 5th of February 2017, Bansko was host to the Snowboard World Cup. Fans got to see the Parallel and Giant Parallel Slalom races, as well as a sprint-cross race, all in one venue. The resort management put in the effort to make this race weekend a great experience for both riders and spectators.
The first day of racing was Friday with the parallel slalom race. The format is direct elimination with the winner advancing to the the next round. The course was set up on the bottom part of the Tomba ski, one of the steepest slopes in Bansko. Qualifications were held in the morning and the fastest riders advanced to the afternoon finals. After 4 rounds of direct elimination, the Bulgarian Radoslav Yankov came out on top, taking the win under heavy applause from the crowd. Winner in the woman’s category was Patrizia Kummer. Conditions were perfect with sunshine throughout the whole day.
Day two of racing saw competitors battle it out on the speed-cross slope. Speed-cross is a variation of boarder-cross, however here the track is straight and more riders start each round. This means that the track is much shorter and any little mistake can cost you the win. The course in Bansko began with a small drop, followed by some rollers. From there riders had to either scrub or jump three kickers in a row before finishing in front of the crowd.
Each round starts with 6 riders at the gate with only the fastest 3 moving forward into the next round. Belle Brockhoff won the gold in the woman’s category. Alexandra Jekova, the Bulgarian favorite didn’t pass the semi-final, but won the small final, securing 7th positions and winning 360 FIS points (as opposed to 1000 points to the winner). Alessandro Haemmerle was the winner in the men’s category. Conditions were stable throughout qualifications, however a sudden rain just before the last few rounds made conditions harder for the riders.
February 5th saw the third day of racing with the Giant Parallel Slalom. All eyes were again on Radoslav Yankov, too see if he could repeat his win from Friday. Conditions in the morning weren’t promising, however the sun came out just in time for the finals. Yankov was able to win all but the final round. He lost to Sylvain Dufour in a dramatic final. In the overall standings, Radoslav is still the current leader in the parallel disciplines, could he win a second crystal globe?
Other than watching the races, fans could take part in many other activities. The most popular may have been the “Fans Race”, where anyone could have a go with their snowboard on a mini race track. The fastest even won prizes each day. The next time there is a world cup in Bansko, be sure to make a trip and experience the show.