The time we have all been waiting for may finally be here, our sport’s time to shine on the international stage. Halfpipe skiing, Winter Olympics, 2014.
The 2010-2011 season is already looking to go down in history as one of the most important seasons competitive halfpipe skiing has ever seen. Earlier this month The Ski Channel reported on the 2011 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix’s inclusion of halfpipe skiing in the Copper Mountain stop of their tour, a first in the 15 year history of the series. The event may even undergo a name change to reflect the addition, according to Tom Kelly, Vice President of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. The Grand Prix serves for U.S. snowboarders as the qualifiers for Olympic superpipe and is one of the most important events of the year. The addition of skiing reflects the change of attitude that has come about in recent years with regards to ski halfpipe. The athletes are finally getting the recognition they deserve, and people are starting to realize that park skiing events are at the same lofty levels of technicality and style as their snowboarding counterparts.
This continues the recent trend of including skiing in events that have traditionally been dominated by snowboarding. Last summer skiing was included in the 2010 Snowboarding and Freestyle Junior World Championships in New Zealand. This was the first time snowboarders and skiers have competed together at the same FIS World Championship event. The Winter Dew Tour that began in the 2008-2009 season has skiers and snowboarders competing alongside each other. Last season the Gatorade Free Flow Tour brought skiing and snowboarding to resorts across America, even to some resorts that traditionally only host snowboarding competitions. Skiing halfpipe is also on the program for the 2012 Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Let the youth lead the way.
So with all this explosion of ski halfpipe popularity and recent synergy with snowboarding competitions, only one question remains. What about the 2014 Olympics? Well, I’m happy to report things are looking great. Earlier in 2010 at the FIS Congress in Antalya, Turkey the decision was put through unanimously to pitch men and women’s halfpipe skiing to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Last week in Lausanne, Switzerland the FIS pitched the event to the IOC Program Committee, who approved. All that remains is for the IOC Executive Board and the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee to give their final approval. The first Executive Board meeting will be taking place October 23-25 in Acapulco, Mexico. This means we could have approval by the end of the month. If approval is not given at this meeting, two oppurtunities still remain at the Executive Board meetings in Switzerland and London.
Halfpipe skiing has been one of the most creative and quickly progressing sports in the world for the last ten years. International recognition is what the event and the athletes who compete in it so rightly deserve, and at this point it seems like a slam dunk. NOSTROVIA!