Well... I think these "Star" system a bit confusing. It used to be much more simple.
According to Alison, he had to play in Moscow just to get a few points because its needed 6 out of 8 best results. That's why we saw so many high level players there in Moscow.
And the award prize money had dropped 6 times from 2016. I think is too expensive to travel and get nothing.
And yes, there was snow