The first ever FIS Snowboard & Freestyle Junior World Championships finished yesterday after 11 days of successful competition. The event combined snowboard and freestyle ski in the same world championships for the first time and marked a new era in competitive snow sports paving the way for the potential introduction of new disciplines into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Championships also marked the first time that Association of Freeski Professionals (AFP) allocated points to a FIS World Championship event, allowing competitors to accumulate points for both organizations’ world rankings, starting to pull all the different sections of the sport together.
“It is very exciting New Zealand is so pivotal in developing the future structure of these snow sports,” said Junior World Championships event director, Arthur Klap. “Where the Junior World Championships are really significant is how they have enabled freestyle skiing and snowboarding to support each other both in their growth and also their extended involvement in the Winter Olympics. As golf has shown, even well established sports can gain considerable financial benefit by being included as an Olympic sport. More importantly for New Zealand snow sports, is the opportunity that it provides for our athletes to compete at the Olympics and gain stronger recognition internationally and domestically.”
The Junior World Championships also provided an opportunity for New Zealand officials to gain international experience and learn from the international officials brought over for the event. This expertise has already seen a step up in delivery of events at the Junior World Championships and will provide valuable resource for next year’s return of the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games.
The 2010 FIS Snowboard & Freestyle Junior World Championships attracted over 350 athletes from 26 nations. The Marc Hodler Cup, which is awarded to the most successful nation at the Championships was awarded to the U.S. team for freestyle skiing and the Russian team for snowboarding.