The 2022/23 FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe and FIS Freeski Continental Cup seasons wrapped up over the weekend in Austria, where a huge final week of snowboard action saw 2x halfpipe, slopestyle and big air European Cup competitions take to the slopes of Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, while for freeski the EC season ended with big air competition up high in Stubai.
The week in Kitzsteinhorn was the biggest of the season for snowboard EC competition, with an extra halfpipe competition added to the already busy programme to make up for an event that was cancelled in Leysin earlier in the season. With huge international fields on hand and some down-to-the-wire battles for top spots on the various leaderboards – and the personal World Cup spots for 2023/24 that go along with finishing best overall on the European Cup – there was no shortage of drama and excitement to take in at Kitzsteinhorn last week.
In women’s halfpipe it was young Japanese rider Sara Shimzu announcing herself to the world as a future star in the making, as the 13-year-old went back-to-back with victories at Kitzsteinhorn in what were the first two European Cup starts of her fledgling career.
While Shimzu would leap all the way up to a tie for third place on the European Cup halfpipe standings with her week in Austria, it would be Germany’s Kona Ettel finishing atop the women’s halfpipe EC standings after earning two Kitzsteinhorn podiums last week, and the 15-year-old will now be joining her older sister Leilani on the World Cup circuit next season.