There has been a great deal of discussion and negotiations since the Ticket to Ride (TTR) General Assembly in Barcelona in May, 2014. Some things have worked out for the snowboarding competition scene, and others have not.
First, based on four event categories, Elite, International, National and Regional, the new tour structure provides more transparency and a clear career path, allowing riders to climb the ranks from Rookie through to Elite level events, under one unified system. The World Snowboard Tour (WST) events on the Elite level form the brand new World Snowboard Tour Pro Series, in which only the best riders from around the world will compete for the Pro Series Champion titles in Slopestyle (m/f) and Halfpipe (m/f).
The riders field of Pro Series events will be composed of Qualified Riders, determined by the World Snowboarding Points Lists (WSPL) in the respective discipline, Series Wildcards, determined by a committee selected by the Global Snowboarders Alliance (GSA), and Event Wildcards, allocated by the event organizer on a per event basis. This makes for a more consistent starter field than in the past, allowing more tension and transparency for the Tour´s global audience. With the new Tour structure and the launch of World Snowboard Tour Pro Series, competition snowboarding is another step closer to a rider-friendly and transparent Tour for all participants.
Regretfully the organizer of Winter X-Games Aspen has decided to part ways with the World Snowboard Tour this season. Furthermore, Air+Style has not yet confirmed its membership in this year´s Tour. This means that Air+Style in Beijing, China, this weekend December 5th – 6th 2014, will not be part of the World Snowboard Tour and the results will not count for the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series ranking. But the individual results will count for the WSPL World Snowboarding Points List. Should Air+Style come to a positive conclusion, which would very much be welcomed by TTR, the Air & Style Innsbruck and the Air & Style L.A. will be acknowledged as part of the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series.
Reto Lamm, President of TTR Pro Snowboarding: “With the new and improved tour concept of the World Snowboard Tour we are pushing further towards a unified environment in competitive snowboarding. Even if we failed in hitting the jackpot, as we did not reach an agreement on commercialization between the top events and IMG, we implemented much of the plan we had presented at the TTR General Assembly in Barcelona. The four levels of events make the tour more transparent and understandable for media, public and riders: The Regional level consists of local events with local impact, National level events will be national event series, national championships and other events in one country, high-profile international events will be found in the International level of the tour, who prepare the riders for the next and final stage. The highest Elite level forms the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series, which combines the best riders in the world as well as the best events worldwide, including significant prize money, TV and global media coverage, coupled with first-rate, progressive venues. The situation for the sport would of course be better, if Air+Style as well as X-Games and Dew Tour decided to join the Tour. This would do the sport, the riders and themselves a great service.”
World Snowboard Tour Pro Series to kick off at Burton European Open presented by MINI in Laax, Switzerland
The first official stop of the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series will be one of the highest profile events of the year, the infamous Burton European Open presented by MINI in Laax, Switzerland. From January 29th – February 1st 2015, riders, industry leaders and spectators will gather at the all new Superpipe and an innovative Slopestyle course on Crap Sogn Gion.
Immediately following BEO, it’s off to the United States to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association´s Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, US (February 2nd – 7th 2015), the Slopestyle and Halfpipe event at the esteemed Unbound Park. The final stage of the World Snowboard Tour Pro Series 2014/15 will be held at the Burton US Open presented by MINI in Vail, US from March 2nd – 7th 2015, where this season’s Halfpipe and Slopestyle Pro Series Champions will be crowned.
All World Snowboard Tour Pro Series events at a glance:
- Burton European Open by MINI, Laax, Switzerland 29. January – 1. February 2015 HP, SS
- Grand Prix, Mammoth, US 2. – 7. February 2015 HP, SS
- Burton US Open by MINI, Vail, US 2. – 7. March 2015 HP, SS
New additions on the International level
The International level of events on the World Snowboard Tour is showcasing a number of well-known regulars as well as some new entrants. The RedBull Nanshan Open in Beijing, China from January 13th – 19th 2015, Poney Session in St. Lary Soulan, France from March 4th – 8th 2015 and Total Fight in Grandvalira, Andorra from March 26th – 28th 2015 will all be part of the new International event level among other established contests. New additions to this year´s calendar are the Russian Grand Prix in Moscow, Russia from January 8th – 11th 2015 as well as the Ale Invite by Kevin & Tor near Gothenburg, Sweden on February 28th 2015, both featuring exciting Big Air set-ups. With the Grand Prix at Copper, US from December 1st – 6th 2014 and the Grand Prix at Park City, US from February 23rd – March 1st 2015, two full blown Slopestyle and Halfpipe events will provide North American riders ample opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Pro Series.
National and Regional level events stand strong
TTR has also renewed it’s partnership with the World Snowboarding Federation (WSF) for another three years. WSF and its member nations are responsible for managing and overseeing the National and Regional level events on the Tour, supporting the grassroots events and amateur contest riders. Entry level contest series like the World Rookie Tour, QParks Tour, Chill and Destroy Tour, and US Revolution Tour confirmed at National and Regional levels, support the growth and development of the sport and competition snowboarding, by encouraging rider participation and establishing a viable rider career pathway. Together, the TTR and the WSF will work to guarantee a high standard of riding, course safety and course creativity and event calibre throughout all levels of the tour.
All upcoming events of the WST 2014/15 can be found here: www.worldsnowboardtour.com/events