Just prior to the start of Winter X Games 15, in which slopestyle and pipe skiing are popular events, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced the formation of U.S. Freeskiing.
The new entity, like the national governing bodies for Olympic skiing and snowboarding U.S. Ski and U.S. Snowboarding, will encompass the potential Olympic events of halfpipe and slopestyle skiing along with skicross, which made its Olympic debut in Vancouver.
The rapid progression of freeskiing and the International Olympic Committee’s desire to consider new action sports for the 2014 Games led the USSA to create the new brand. With millions of participants, freeskiing has also attracted a new partner with The North Face and U.S. Freeskiing announcing an eight-year alliance.
As the charter partner of U.S. Freeskiing, The North Face will deepen its role in the sport through 2018 by becoming the official supplier of U.S Freeskiing Olympic competition outerwear as well as having feature exposure at U.S. Freeskiing events including the Grand Prix and U.S. Revolution Tour. The North Face will also help develop signature events to help grow the athlete development pipeline in the sport.
The concept for the new U.S. Freeskiing “brand”, developed over the last 18 months, incorporates significant input from athletes, industry leaders and other partners as well as work by the USSA to move the new sports through the international process. The brand collateral, logo, and associated branding is expected to be unveiled in the Spring.
As a part of development of U.S. Freeskiing, the USSA has added freeskiing to several of its key national events. In December, halfpipe skiing was added to the Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, with the Colorado resort extending its schedule through Dec. 2014. Skicross, along with halfpipe and slopestyle skiing were also added to the four-stop U.S. Revolution Tour, which now features both snowboarding and freeskiing with stops in Copper Mountain, Mt. Hood Meadows, OR, Boreal, CA, and Mt. Snow, VT. The North Face will be a partner at each stop of the tours. Skicross has also been added to the USSA’s national Hole Shot Cross Tour.
In October, the IOC’s Executive Committee gave an encouraging nod to a host of new Olympic action sports events including halfpipe and slopestyle skiing. A final decision will be made by IOC President Jacques Rogge after a review of the events in World Championships this season, including the International Ski Federation’s Freestyle World Ski Championships at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort Feb. 2-5.
If only such attention could be focused on getting women’s ski jumping added to the Olympic program.