The future of Halfpipe and Slopestyle may have seemed unsure when both were accepted into the 2014 Olympics earlier this year, and fears that the sport would have its soul sucked out by the International Federation were hard to subdue. But the Association of Freestyle Professionals (AFP) is on top of the situation as it works to maintain the identity of the sport and ensure that progress continues moving rapidly forward, with admission to the Olympic Games serving as a contribution to the sport’s rolling success.
Earlier this month, the AFP was invited to go to Zurich and take part in the International Ski Federation (FIS) meetings to contribute their suggestions on how the sport should be represented. Chris Schuster, Josh Loubek, and Michael Spencer (all AFP founders) participated in the Freestyle Committee conference and the results are downright promising. Four major areas were accessed including the calendar, halfpipe and slopestyle standards, and judging.
The calendar will ensure that athletes don’t have to pick between the existing AFP Calendar and going to the World Cups to qualify for the Olympics. Athletes won’t need to worry about missing the Dew Tour or X Games, and there’s a possibility that the Grand Prix’s in the United States and the New Zealand Open could even become World Cups. As of now, there will likely be 7 World Cup’s during Olympic Qualification (from July 2012 to January 2014).
FIS has guaranteed that event organizers will have to ensure a 22-foot halfpipe to be a World Cup competition. Everyone agreed that there will be no standards on slopestyle courses but rules will allow all competitors extra training time prior to competition if any major changes to the course occur after practice. A group is already in place designing the Olympic course but no athletic voice has been added (so the AFP will get to work on that right away).
The biggest victory came in judging as the FIS allowed the AFP to take control of all judging materials and FIS judge certification clinics. They also agreed upon 100-point system so all AFP and FIS sanctioned events will have the same point system.
The meetings were an all-around success and the future of the sport is looking strikingly bright.