The last days there has been a major push and support behind what is known as the snowboard riders union, We Are Snowboarding, also known as WAS. Hundreds of professional athletes and industry people have shown that they will stand up for their sport with a unified voice! Each and own have signed a letter asking the IOC to listen and let the riders be a part of deciding the future of competitive snowboarding. I am proud and honored to be a part of and to support a movement that works towards making a positive change and to protect the future of snowboarding!
In the spirit of this movement, I want to share some of my perspectives and concerns regarding FIS taking over the Olympic qualifiers for 2014 for snowboarding:
“I think it’s discouraging to have FIS become a bigger part of snowboarding, because I think this will decrease the progression of our sport. The problem is that FIS (who are experts on organizing ski events) have little experience with organization and hosting/ making snowboarding (especially slopestyle) events. The people behind our major events know snowboarding, and are experts at building slopestyle courses. A FIS Olympic qualifiers means that the riders have to compete in conditions that neither supporting the progression or considering our safety. With this the chances of injuries also increases. Another point of view on why the progression will be affected, is the courses will be more standardised with FIS as a organizer. This will make our events really similar and predictable. Some examples on this are set frames for size of jumps, placement of rails and length of the courses. I think this can hurt the progression and culture of snowboarding because the creativity, freedom, playfulness and variation is taken away from us. My worry is that we are moving in a direction that could result in suppressing the legitimate culture we have built in snowboarding. (This has allready happend after halfpipe became Olympic disipline and the riders where “forced” to compete under FIS systems). My point here is the culture, supported and recognized by the riders, sponsors, industry and media, are worlds apart form the culture FIS is practicing. FIS qualifiers can mean up to twice as many competitions on the schedule, as of today! This will force the riders to choose between our culture and the culture FIS is idetified with. This is too many contests on the schedule and because the system requires this if you want to go to the Olympics. This is provacative because the snowboard industry already supports and has a sustainable cooperation with the organizers as of today. It’s in this environment the snowboard culture is blossoming and it’s in this type of environment that the riders (young ones especially) have the possability to get a social and financial capital, which again makes it possible to live and reach the top level of snowboarding. Something that makes the snowboard environment so special and motivating for me, is the room for creativity, individuality and playing. The organizers of our competitions today are working together with the riders to make sure they provide this kind of environment for us (ex. creative use of space award on the TTR Tour). Another example on this is that the riders can give feedback on how they experienced the event, the course and the organization of the event. I care to protect the riders interests and needs because I think this is a culture that deserves to be preserved, not discriminated!”
Sincerely yours passionate