The oldest rivalry in snow sports continues to grow weaker by the day; skiing and snowboarding are rapidly moving closer towards becoming a united event series rather then diverging into separate competitive entities.
Last week, the nation’s longest running snowboard tour, The USSA Grand Prix, which also serves as the Olympic snowboard qualifying series, announced they will include freestyle skiing halfpipe events during the 2010-11 season. The move was not only a big step towards uniting the two sports, but was also widely seen as an important move towards the chances of freestyle skiing events such as halfpipe or slopestyle being included in the next Winter Olympic Games.
With skiing’s addition to Grand Prix events, the partnership is being extended much deeper. The 2011 U.S. Revolution Tour, a qualifying event series for the USSA Grand Prix, is also taking on a new look this winter, showcasing freestyle skiing as well as snowboarding events.
The U.S. Revolution Tour, which will kick off its seventh year this December, is known for featuring the up-and-coming stars of snowboarding and now will also include the future standouts of freestyle skiing. The long success of the Tour was started by U.S. Snowboarding with the goal of progressing athletes to Junior Worlds, U.S. Open, Grand Prix and beyond. Past Tour stand-outs include U.S. Snowboarding’s Halfpipe Pro Team Rider Kaitlyn Farrington (Sun Valley, ID) and Rookie Team rider Zack Black (Breckenridge, CO).
“It’s fun to see the up-and-coming stars of snowboarding,” said Tour Manager Nick Alexakos. “It’s kind of the ‘who’s next’ in snowboarding. It’s fun to watch and see who will step up. It will be great to add freestyle to the mix.”
The 2010 summer kicked off the freestyle and snowboarding pairing with U.S. Snowboarding’s Project Gold Camp including both freeskiing and snowboarding athletes. More notably, the 2010 Snowboarding and Freestyle Junior World Championships marked the first FIS event where both sports were showcased at the same venue with the U.S taking home an impressive 11 medals from New Zealand in August.
The 2011 Revolution Tour is picking up where summer left off with four stops all including both freestyle skiing and snowboard disciplines including halfpipe, slopestyle, and cross competitions. Following the positive response from the 2010 FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Junior World Championships in New Zealand, the Revolution Tour is moving with the progression of the two sports.
“After six years building the U.S. Revolution Tour as the premier mid-level snowboard contest, we recognized the opportunity to grow the series as part of our development within freestyle,” said Snowboard and Freeride Director Jeremy Forster. “With the possibility of slopestyle snowboarding and halfpipe skiing being included in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, beginning to conduct these events together and share resources makes sense.
“The host resorts have been stoked on the direction along with positive feedback from the freeskiing community. Hopefully, the athletes will have fun competing together and it will be a great season for the Revolution Tour.”
The U.S. Revolution Tour is set to make its 2011 debut in mid December at Copper Mountain, CO. The Tour leaves the Rockies, heading north to Mt. Hood Meadows, OR, before moving west to Boreal, CA. Riders will make their final stop at Olympic medalists Kelly Clark’s (Mt. Snow, VT) hometown, Mount Snow, VT.
“Expect to see continued progression in the sport for sure,” said Alexakos. “I’ve been involved with the Rev Tour for three years and every year I’m amazed at the level and progression of riding from winter to winter.”
2011 U.S. Revolution Tour Schedule
Dec. 13-17 Copper Mountain, CO (Halfpipe, Slopestyle)
Jan. 10-14 Mt. Hood Meadows, OR (Halfpipe, Slopestyle, Cross)
Feb. 7-11 Boreal, CA (Halfpipe, Slopestyle, Cross)
Mar. 15-18 Mount Snow, VT (Halfpipe, Slopesyle)