Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Snowboarders Unite

FIS snowboard has held the rights of qualifying snowboard to the Olympics since 1998. However the snowboard community offers a broad and 30-year-long history of events within the Olympic freestyle disciplines halfpipe and slopestyle. In 2011 slopestyle was added as a new discipline to the Winter Olympic Games for Sochi 2014, further challenging the strained and fragmented calendar situation within international snowboarding. The snowboard community has initiated dialogue with FIS to start cooperating on a joint qualification for the Olympics as well as a global competition calendar solution for the better good of competitive snowboarding.

On October 7 2011, the Ticket To Ride (TTR) met with Sarah Lewis, Secretary General for FIS, Marcel Looze, FIS Marketing Director and the FIS snowboard staff. The purpose of the meeting was to present a joint Olympic qualification system, based on a cooperation between FIS and TTR in which the top four TTR events and the top four FIS World Cups would be used in a newly created “Olympic Qualification System,” as well as a global competition calendar solution.

Although the TTR presented the proposal, it was initially developed by the joint Freestyle Snowboard Task Force representing FIS, TTR, nations, athletes and coaches.

During the meeting, it was agreed that FIS will respond to the proposal by the beginning of November.

A draft of the proposal was presented on October 6, during the official FIS Snowboard Task Force meetings and received strong support from the nations.

TTR President, Reto Lamm, said this about his outlook on the outcome of the meeting: “In support of TTR’s goal to create a fair and equitable qualification system that is widely supported by the riders, the nations and the global snowboard community, TTR hopes for a positive outcome for the better good of the sport of snowboarding.”

TTR was established 2002 by Terje Haakonsen, key event organizers and brand representatives and aimed to become the most innovative and grass-roots tour connecting the most prestigious independent snowboard events worldwide.

TTR event history runs 30 years back with the US Open that was kicked off in the early 80s. Today the Burton Global Open Series, Air & Styles, O’Neill Evolution and The Arctic Challenge are some of the pinnacle events in addition to the World Snowboarding Championships in Oslo 2012. TTR collaborates with World Snowboard Federation who is the umbrella for 35 snowboard nations globally. The ranking consists of over 500 events annually and over 3000 riders from around the world.

Check out the time line of events, leading up to this historic meeting


November 2009

In fall TTR board meetings, the TTR decides that it wants to help shape the Olympic Qualifications process after informal talks with many different parties within the snowboard community.

October 25, 2010

Following IOC meetings in Acapulco, Mexico, snowboard slopestyle and ski slopestyle are added to the list of potential new sports that will be considered for inclusion in the 2014 Sochi OWG. Decision to come in April, 2011 after a closer review of the disciplines to see if they are fitted Olympic events.

November 2010

TTR representatives reach out to the FIS in an effort to understand FIS’ plans for the slopestyle discipline and to begin discussion on how FIS and TTR could work together moving forward.

November 8, 2010

FIS announces the addition of snowboard slopestyle to the 2011 FIS World Championships.  The FIS World Championships in La Molina, Spain in January 2011 is the first time slopestyle was run at a FIS World Championships.

February 18, 2011

Snowboarding 180 Olympic Charter launched by Terje Haakonsen at the Arctic Challenge in Oslo, Norway.

Winter , 2011

IOC representatives on site visiting several slopestyle events during the winter, both FIS and non FIS events.

March 10, 2011

Snowboarders launch We Are Snowboarding, a rider alliance formed to ‘give snowboarders a voice within the competitive snowboarding arena in order to help facilitate a positive, mature progression for the sport’.

April 6, 2011

IOC postpones decision on whether slopestyle will be included in the 2014 OWG citing the need for a ‘further feasibility study’.

June 2011

TTR representatives attend FIS meetings in Portoroz, Slovenia and spearhead the formation of the Freestyle Snowboard Task Force.  The Task Force is made up of TTR and FIS representatives along with national snowboard associations, athletes, judges and coaches.  The Task Force’s focus is to ‘create a strategy for competitive freestyle snowboarding and to generate a proposal for the IOC that centers on developing a fair system for freestyle snowboard athletes to qualify for the Olympics that will include the best FIS World Cup events and the best TTR events.’  The deadline for the Task force to submit a qualification proposal is before the fall FIS meetings in set for October 2011.

July 4, 2011

Slopestyle approved by IOC for inclusion in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games

August 31, 2011

FIS announces that the IOC has approved a qualifying process for snowboarding events already submitted by FIS staff, ahead of the scheduled October deadline. The FIS fast tracked these decisions, declining to take into consideration any recommendations from the task force.

September 7, 2011

IOC summons FIS and TTR to jointly discuss all the current issues at hand, including the joint Olympic qualification proposal in development by the Freestyle Snowboard Task Force.

October 7, 2011

TTR and Task Force representatives attend the FIS fall meetings in Zurich, Switzerland.  TTR submits a ‘joint Olympic Qualification proposal’, which is currently being reviewed by FIS and has provided the first week of November as the timeframe for a response.  The proposal was widely supported by the nations when presented in the FIS Snowboard Committee.  Furthermore, the nations voiced their support for change and in favor of a joint initiative during the snowboard committee meeting.


A cooperation between TTR / FIS for the creation of a joint “Olympic Qualification System” (“OQS”) for Halfpipe and Slopestyle.

The creation of a fair and equitable joint qualification system in which the top FIS World Cup events are coupled with the top TTR events for a newly created OQS that is widely supported by the riders, the nations and the global snowboard community.

To alleviate the concerns of the world’s top riders that the global competition calendar is over crowded, there is not room for more events and that riders will not only be forced to chose events in the qualification year, but will put themselves at risk for injury and will not have sufficient down time for rest, practice, and progressing their abilities.


  • A calendar that includes  top world-class TTR events and FIS World Cups (OQS events) during the 2012-13 season and 2013-14 season for halfpipe and slopestyle.
  • The OQS will make up the official points list for calculation of national quotas and rider eligibility for the Olympic Winter Games.
  • All OQS events will meet common standards
    • World Anti Doping Code
    • Comply with the Olympic Charter
    • Utilize the current FIS national entry system
    • Be sanctioned by the national associations
    • Events must provide Halfpipe and Slopestyle competitions
    • Other (TBD)
  • Creation of unique marketing and communication opportunities for the OQS

TTR will work with the national snowboard associations and the FIS committee structure to insure that any commonly developed rules are adopted.

Get Involved

Because, everyone can make a difference.  If you care about the future of snowboarding take the time to get involved…you can spend 5 seconds or 5 minutes.

What can you do?

Post your thoughts – Tell us what you think?  How do you envision the future of competitive snowboarding?
Use our badge – Show your support. Download the Snowboarders Unite image and use it as badge by posting it via Facebook or Twitter.
Post a letter – Feeling inspired?  Use one of these templates to shoot off a letter to the FIS, IOC or your local National Snowboard Association.  They all need to hear from you!

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