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What do the 2019 FIS World Championships Mean to You? - Alex Deibold

By Andrew Gauthier
December, 23 2018

When the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships kick off Feb. 1, it will mark the first time since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games that Utah - The State of Sport - has hosted so many athletes for a World Class event. In this three-part series, we talk to a number of U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes expected to compete in the upcoming World Champs, and their thoughts on competing on home soil, in front of family and friends, the pressure to exceed expectations, and their overall view of what the World Championships mean to them.

Snowboard and Skicross at Solitude

Fifteen-year snowboardcross veteran and Sochi Olympic bronze medalist Alex Deibold (Manchester, Vt.) knows the World Champs are special. “Outside of the Olympics, I think it is the most prestigious and most important event we have,” he said. “Being able to call yourself a World Champion is a lifelong title. If you look at some of the names that have achieved that title, it really is pretty elite. The fact that it only happens every two years definitely adds some mystique and pressure to it and just makes it that much more special.”

As a Park City local, Deibold has an edge over his international competitors. “It’s something as simple as being in your own time zone that can be a huge advantage for sleep and preparation,” said Deibold. “Also diet. It sounds silly to some people, but just being able to have food you are used to and are comfortable with is just one of those small things that can definitely add to your success.”

Deibold believes Solitude Mountain Resort’s snowboardcross facilities play well to the team’s strengths and may offer a unique advantage. “I do think we really have a home-field advantage,” he said. “If the test event for us at Solitude was any indicator, we had a lot of success there. I was able to get on the podium and I really felt like I could have won that race. It was one of the first times in my career that I felt a little disappointed with a podium that wasn’t a win. For snowboardcross, the build and the style we have over here really suits our riders. Nate [Holland] and I were third and fourth. I really think we have an advantage, not only being at home but also with the style of course at Solitude.”

“The fact that we are having World Champs on home soil is a big advantage to us and it being in my backyard is even better. It will be great to have friends and family be able to come up, and watch, and support, and the fact that we have so much history and such a great community here, I think it’s really going to make it that much more special. World Champs is always an important event and it’s fiercely competitive and really prestigious, but the thought of being able to compete in an event like that at home… we are just so fortunate."

    - Alex Deibold, U.S. Snowboard Team

“But, you certainly have to be careful” Deibold continued. “Luckily I have been doing this a long time and I know it’s easy to get distracted and get pulled in a lot of different directions. People wanting to see you and spend time with you, whereas if you are overseas you just buckle down. But no, having them there is just a bonus, regardless of how things go. It will be great to have them here and have that support.”

Another common thread between the athletes and the World Championships is having a generally positive outlook on expected performance. “It’s a little too early in the season to say, but I think our team is riding as strong as it has in years,” said Deibold. “We have a really good group dynamic right now. There are some younger kids on the team that are pushing us to be better and there are some of us who are a little bit older with more experience so we have been guiding and leading. I feel really confident for the team going into the World Champs this year.”

On the snowboardcross side, Deibold mentions a very clear and focused rival. “As far as our main rival goes, the reigning world champ Pierre Vaultier from France, the two-time Olympic champion, is certainly the man to watch,” he said. “But there are a lot of different people from other countries riding well.”

Both domestic and international snowboard and skicross athletes will descend on Utah and converge at Solitude Mountain Resort to open World Champs Feb. 1-3 with snowboardcross, skicross, and mixed gender team snowboardcross. With three opportunities for podiums, these athletes will leave everything on snow.

All times EST
Preliminary broadcast schedule, subject to change
Streaming schedule TBA
*Same-day broadcast
**Next-day broadcast

Friday, Feb. 1
1:00 p.m. - Men and women's snowboardcross finals - NBCSN

Saturday, Feb. 2
3:00 p.m. - Men and women’s skicross finals - Olympic Channel
8:30 p.m. - Men and women’s skicross finals - NBCSN*

Sunday, Feb. 3
1:00 a.m. - Men and women’s freeski big air finals - NBCSN**
1:00 p.m. - Team snowboardcross - Olympic Channel
4:00 p.m.-  Team snowboardcross - NBCSN*

Monday, Feb. 4
3:00 p.m. - Parallel snowboard giant slalom - Olympic Channel
7:00 p.m. - Parallel snowboard giant slalom - NBCSN*

Tuesday, Feb. 5
3:00 p.m. - Parallel snowboard slalom - NBCSN
9:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard big air - NBCSN

Wednesday, Feb. 6
3:00 p.m. - Men and women’s freeski slopestyle finals - NBCSN
9:00 p.m. - Men and women’s aerials - Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. - Men and women’s aerials - NBCSN*

Thursday, Feb. 7
9:00 p.m. - Team aerials - NBCSN

Friday, Feb. 8
1:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard  halfpipe - NBCSN
9:00 p.m. - Men and women’s moguls - NBCSN

Sunday, Feb. 10
2:00 a.m. - Men and women’s dual moguls - NBCSN**
1:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard slopestyle - Olympic Channel
3:00 p.m. - Men and women’s snowboard slopestyle - NBC*

Monday, Feb. 11
10:30 p.m. - Women’s freeski halfpipe finals - NBCSN**