In the early days snowboarding had two mindsets going on for itself you had the jockish gate bashing, grape smuggling, racers, and then there were the originators of independence and style that spawned what we have as modern day riding. It was then at this early juncture that our founding fathers realized we needed to get away from racing gates and go for a more fluid approach to riding the whole mountain. Had they not done this snowboarding would have become nothing more than what skiing was in the 80’s and 90’s. Now with another year of the five ring circus drawing more attention from people outside our culture and snowboarding competitions becoming a way for riders to actually make a living we are getting presented with yet more competition options.
This past week the Ticket To Ride World Snowboard Tour announced plans to introduce a a world championship contest. One that would take place every four years and feature both halfpipe and slopestyle. Now does anyone else find that this is a little to close to what the Olympics represent? If you don’t believe it here’s the press release.
TTR Pro Snowboarding today announces the creation of the World Snowboarding Championships. A new world-class snowboarding event, the World Snowboarding Championships will be held every four years and will feature men’s and women’s halfpipe and slopestyle disciplines. The first event is planned for the 2011/2012 season and will create an environment for the best freestyle riders to compete for world snowboard champion titles in both halfpipe and slopestyle formats.
“The creation of the Snowboarding World Championships is a great step forward for the TTR and the world of snowboarding as a whole,” says Reto Lamm, President of the TTR World Tour. “We look forward to putting on a world-class event to push the progression of the sport and provide a global platform to showcase the best riders in the world.”
The concept for the World Snowboarding Championships was developed by a group of international representatives of the sport at the 2009 TTR General Assembly in Austria and is a joint project of the TTR World Tour and the World Snowboard Federation (WSF). With a unanimous vote at the General Assembly 2010, the application for the Norwegian capital, Oslo, has been accepted to hold the inaugural event in 2012. The proposal was put forward by a consortium of the Norwegian Snowboard Federation, the Arctic Challenge organizers and the hosting resort Tryvann.
The municipality of Oslo will back the project with $4.3-million USD for the event and another $1.3-million USD for preparations. The final decision whether the event will take place is pending approval by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment for the expansion plans of the event arena at Tryvann Vinterpark.
After the 2011/2012 event, the World Snowboarding Championships will continually change locations every four years and will take applications from cities around the world to host future events. Other details surrounding the event, such as qualifications, prize money and event schedules will be determined over the next six months and will be released as they are finalized.
Now lets recap here. Will meet every four years, change locations for cities around the world to host, financial backing from Oslo the first host city, global platform, show casing freestyle snowboarding (i.e. halfpipe). Yeah that’s pretty much the fucking Olympics right there. On a plus side the riders would have the chance to win money and after seeing ballerina Chas Guldemond win over 100k in 2009 it seems that the prize purses could benefit the rider very well. Another advantage would be that riders wouldn’t have to hide who their sponsors were like in the Olympics, which after this past one caused companies to stricken their riders from their websites and press releases. So for once little companies that previously got the shaft would be showcased.
While you’re reading this right now the FIS is meeting in Turkey to discuss the possibility of adding snowboarding slopestyle to the roster of winter games. Now this goes back to the age old debate of do we need the Olympics or do they need us? This also opens up a previous topic on here about what have the Olympics done for us? The USSA (governing body for grape smugglers and stunt ditch riders in the states) had this to say under their latest strategic review, “alpine snowboarding, ski cross, and ski jumping are going to see a decline in attention, while slopestyle snowboarding is in the lineup to get more attention.” Wow so guys racing downhill on a mono ski won’t get as much attention as slopestyle? Well no shit fellas kids don’t want to ride a plank and make carves they want to jib a rail and hit a jump. While you’re at it better add freeskiing pipe and slope in there as well those kids sure do love their triple twirly birds.
So with all this going on the question remains of is this a positive for snowboarding? Do we need more contests on the world stage? Or is snowboarding reverting back to what it fought against in the early days? These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves and find where the true balance could be in the snowboarding world.