Slopestyle On Track To Be Next Olympic Event?

Ulrik Badertscher at the US Open. Photo: Nick Hamilton
Ulrik Badertscher at the US Open. Photo: Nick Hamilton

Fresh on the heels of snowboarding’s record shattering viewership at the Vancouver Games, the international ski and snowboard community is coming together next week to push for the inclusion of Slopestyle and Team SBX on the 2014 Olympic billet in Sochi, Russia.

In order to be included in the Olympics, a sport must first be in two world championships overseen by an international governing body (in this case FIS) and representatives from the U.S. Ski And Snowboard Association (USSA), New Zealand, and Canada are all petitioning FIS at it’s biannual congress next week in Turkey to include slopestyle and team SBX in the 2011 World Championships.

“With the FIS meetings in Turkey next week, we are hoping that Slopestyle (and Team Snowboardcross) will be approved as new FIS World Championship events,” says US Snowboarding Program Director Jeremy Forster.

“Adding slopestyle to the Olympics is a major initiative for us,” Forster told TW Biz last season. “Slopestyle needs to be established within the FIS World Cup, then World Championships before it can be considered for Olympic inclusion by the IOC.” The first step of this plan came together in January 2010 when slopestyle was included as part of a Canadian World Cup event.

If FIS approves the proposals from the three nations next week (check out the Congress book for more) to include the disciplines in the 2011 World Championships, then it will be up to the IOC to decide if they will be included in the Olympics, a decision it is expected to make sometime in 2011. With a chance to give Shaun White two nights of prime time coverage in 2014, it seems like a no brainer.

USSA released a new strategic plan last weekend to focus its attention on events that are most likely to make the 2014 Games and it is placing a major focus on slopestyle, while disbanding its Alpine Snowboard Team (did you or anyone you know watch the alpine race events?), leading to speculation that the race disciplines will be axed.

Stay tuned for news from the FIS Congress in Antalya, Turkey, May 30-June 5 and weigh in on TW SNOW’s poll HERE.