Zreče – The Slovenian ski resort of Rogla is hosting a segment of the Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships, with the parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom disciplines scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Slovenians have high expectations in both events and a big favourite in veteran Žan Košir.
The resort in the north-east of the country is hosting this part of the snowboarding competitions of the championship after the original hosts in China had cancelled the event altogether.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) then split the event into several segments and picked new hosts, awarding the parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom to Rogla.
This will be the first time that the resort is hosting the world championship in snowboarding, and Izidor Šušteršič, the head coach of the Slovenian team, dreams of the Slovenian anthem being played there at least once.
Žan Košir, the winner of three Olympic medals who has always performed well in Rogla, said that “the desire is even greater at the championships at home, but the pressure is also greater. We certainly want to end up on the podium.”
The 36-year-old has had some injury and health issues this year but is in a good shape, which he showed with the second place at the recent World Cup event in Russia. He is currently sixth in the overall standings.
Also expected a lot is from Tim Mastnak and Rok Marguč, who are familiar with the courses in Rogla, although they think that the home turf will not provide Slovenians with any particular advantage.
“Because of the World Cup races, this course is not an unknown to anybody,” said Tim Mastnak, the silver medallist in the parallel giant slalom from the 2019 world championships in the US, who feels no pressure for the time being.
“I’m not under pressure of expectations. I almost forgot that I will be defending my silver medal from Park City, as I only want to focus on my runs. It’s unfortunate that there will be no spectators, as I give my best in front of loud crowds.”
Marguč, the 2013 world champion in parallel slalom, hopes he will be able to control the great desire to win and concentrate on his performance. He thinks he has a chance for a medal in the parallel slalom.
He said that Russia’s Dmitry Loginov was the main favourite, but noted that the course suited many snowboarders, in particular Italians, who had trained there.
The major concern is whether the course will hold up as a total of 120 snowboarders are scheduled to take part, with Slovenia currently experiencing a spell of unseasonably warm weather.