As many of us know, slopestyle is to be included in the next Winter Olympics. However, unknown to the average joe, is that there has been a long battle over how qualifications for the Olympics are handled.
Initially, the FIS has been saying that they want all events sanctioned under FIS rules, but it would mean that basically every major independent snowboard event in the TTR calendar, such as the Air & Style, would not be eligible.
There’s been a long back and forth, and for the sake of not turning this into a 5000 word blog, here is an article for those unaware of the situation: Transworld Snowboarding: Shaking Hands With The Devil
I asked a few pros and industry people for their comments on the situation:
Benji Farrow (Pro Snowboarder & US Team Member):
“Obviously having slopestyle included in the Olympics has been a dream for a lot of pro riders. The trouble that has seemed to arise though is in the qualification schedule. FIS is controlling the qualification process as they always have, making riders earn their quota spots through world cups. What this does though is just adds to the number of high profile events in our competitive season. We already have the Dew Tour, Air and Style and Global Open Series to attend plus other events like X Games and let’s not forget the TTR World Championships set for Oslo this February.
We as the riders are asking FIS and the IOC if they would consider consolidating and using events like the Burton Global Open series to qualify us for Sochi in 2014. We hope that they will be able to take our input and makes changes to benefit everybody for the better of our sport. We will see.”
Anthony Leffelaar (Former Pro Snowboarder & Founder of Vivo Headwear):
“I think slopestyle added to the Olympics is good for snowboarding. It gives the general public an eye to see the other side of snowboarding that they haven’t seen as much. I think it’s great. Some snowboarders are into filming and some snowboarders are into competing and some are into both. It can only help the athletes and their endorsements and help them to continue doing what they enjoy doing.
In terms of FIS and TTR, I think that TTR should definitely have a fair vote say against the FIS decision because TTR represents the snowboarders. If you have a mix of people that are more business, like the FIS, and a mix of people that are snowboarders, like TTR, the outcome will be the best outcome you can get. You’ll get the best of both.”
Geoff Brown (Pro Snowboarder):
“To be honest I don’t really understand the whole Olympic set up. They say that it will be based on TTR points, but the contests to qualify will not be biased and will be open. But there are no TTR events right now that fit that description, so they’ve got their work cut out.
Obviously having snowboarding slopestyle will be very cool to watch in the Olympics. And I think us Canadians have a good chance at podium, unlike in the halfpipe.
I just hope the olympic committee choose judges that know a lot about snowboarding and take into account everything. This could be a great thing especially with the way snowboarding contests have been going lately, but it would be terrible if the olympics ruin snowboarding contests.”
Braden Dean (Pro Snowboarder):
“The FIS is an organization created by skiers a long time ago that is the governing body for alpine skiing. TTR has been created and run by snowboarders since its inception. By allowing the FIS to govern the Olympic qualifiers for our different snowboard events, a different sport benefits directly from the income and jobs that are created around snowboarding.
A comparison would be allowing the seats sold at a hockey game to go towards paying the basketball team. As snowboarders we should be supporting our own sport, and the people involved in our governing body should be snowboarders with jobs.”
How about you? What do you think about the situation? Leave a comment!