The Snowboard World Cup in Bansko acts as mini-Olympics
The FIS Snowboard World Cup in Bansko, which will take place on the long weekend from January 26 - 28, 2018 will gather for its 6th start a record number of 230 competitors - almost as many will participate the same discipline at the Olympics in Pyeongchang 2 weeks later. The race in Bulgaria's Top resort is the last major event before the Olympic Games in South Korea, that will be attended by IOC member Sung Yong Huang. He comes on the recommendation of the course designer Valentin Stefanov, who was in charge of 5 World Ski Cups in Bansko, the Olympics in Sochi, is currently preparing the runs in Pyeongchang and is already hired for Beijing 2022.
Amongst the stars, who will be next weekend in Bansko is the American-born Russian Vic Wild who achieved a double triumph in the parallel disciplines in Sochi 4 years ago. Frenchman Pierre Vaultier will also be there. On Banderishka Polyana there will also be the holder of the big Crystal Globe for 2017 Andreas Prommegger and 4-time World champion Benjamin Karl. Three former N1 on the planet - Andrey Sobolev, Alex Pulin and Roland Fischer will add star dust to the event. Navin Galmarini (Swiss), Sylvain Dufour (Fr), Christoph Mick (It) will be among the competitors in Bansko.
The best ladies in snowboarding will also arrive. Among them is Esther Ledecka, who missed Bansko last winter. The 22-year-old blonde from Prague is not only a 2-time World Champion and World Cup winner, but also a prominent alpine skier. We shall name as well the gold medalist from Sochi Julia Dujmovits, the italian Michela Moioli, as well as the American superstar Lindsey Jacobellis - 5-time world champion and 10-time X Games gold medalist .
Bulgaria will be represented in the parallel disciplines by Big Crystal Globe 2016 and Crystal Globe 2017 winner Radoslav Yankov, who made in Bansko last year a historic victory, Teodora Pencheva, Mihail Krachniak, Stanislav Vangelov and Dimitar Ganichev. Alexandra Zhekova will represent Bulgaria in the snowboard cross. She qualified fifth in the Sochi Olympics and fourth in the last World Cup. Valentin Miladinov will compete for Bulgaria in the same discipline.
"This year we host one of the biggest events in the world of winter sports. The starts in the parallel disciplines in Bansko are the last ones before the Olympics and all elite competitors will adjust their clocks here. The podium of Rado Yankov in Rogla on Sunday adds more optimism for a good performance in Bansko and in the Olympic Games as well. Alexandra Zhekova is also performing better and better. The preparation for the races runs according our expectations and all FIS requirements. Special thanks to the Ministry of Youth and Sport for the big support for this World Cup! Thanks also to our sponsors, who have supported us all these years, because winter sports a very expensive business. Gratitude to the Council of ministers, because for the first time in the last 15 years something positive has happened with the decision for the second gondola lift in Bansko. This gives a positive perspective for development in the sports infrastructure and especially for winter sports. We hope that soon things will change, because we, as a federation, are very interested in having more winter resorts in Bulgaria so that we can practice sports, we can train our athletes, and educate our children", stated Bulgaria Ski Federation President Tseko Minev at the World Cup press conference.
More than 100 Bulgarian and foreign journalists will cover the races at the Alberto Tomba slope, that will host the parallel disciplines, and the adjacent 9A run, where the snowboard cross course is. For the construction of the two routes, 70,000 cubis meters of snow (natural and artificial) were needed.