-World Skiing Invitational presents the Degree Superpipe as the first top level international competition after decision to make skiing Halfpipe an Olympic Sport –
Whistler, BC (April 6, 2011) — The historic decision that Halfpipe skiing is now an Olympic discipline came in the early hours of this beautiful and snowy day in consistently number one ranked ski resort, Whistler. The exciting revelation is further sweetened by the fact that in 16 days the top skiers will converge on Whistler Blackcomb to compete in the Pipe qualifiers, and two days later in the finals, in the first top level international competition post announcement. The World Skiing Invitational was last month elevated to platinum level in the Association of Freesking Professionals rankings, placing it in the same realm as X Games and Dew Tour. The WSI, hosting the AFP at the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival, is the first chance for these rejuvenated skiers to come out and compete in the Degree Superpipe, an event that may eventually lead them to Olympic glory in Sochi, Russia, 2014.
“The excitement and enthusiasm about this announcement is palpable, between athletes, coaches and industry professionals. The TWSSF is thrilled to host the first top level International pipe completion following the decision to include it in the 2014 games. We’ve been privileged to have these athletes compete at our event for over a decade and we share their excitement they will have an opportunity to do so on the Olympic stage.” enthused TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival Communications Manager Jess Smith.
The sport has been pitching for Olympic inclusion for many years, and athletes have seen significant improvement in resources and interest in halfpipe skiing over the past few years. Local pipe superstar Mike Riddle, who received the news over skype with Canada Freestyle at 5am, stated, “I could not be more stoked for this announcement. It’s been a long time coming, over 5 years of supporting World Cup, World Championship and FIS competitions to try to get this discipline included in the Olympic program. It’s not only taken a load off my mind, worrying about whether it would happen, but it’s given me purpose for the next three years. Hopefully I’ll be able to come home with a medal for Canada in 2014.”
Steve Jarrett, Publisher of SBC Skier recognises that “this Olympic decision has been a long time coming, especially for the best pipe skiers like Mike Riddle, Justin Dorey, Sarah Burke, Roz Groenewoud among others who have been at the top of the pipe rankings for years, while standing on the Olympic sidelines watching snowboard pipe become a marquee event at the Games. I know everyone in the ski community is super stoked and it will undoubtedly make the WSI / AFP World Championship pipe finals at the Festival one of the most exciting events of the year!”
The AFP has now readied itself for crowning the World Champions at WSI, April 20-24, at Whistler Blackcomb, with the knowledge that these athletes may also be Olympic Champion in three short years.
“The TWSSF has helped pioneer ski pipe along with the athletes and coaches of the sport.” Says Peter Young, Whistler Blackcomb’s event manager. He emphasises that “the first TWSSF ski pipe happened in 2000 so we have been dreaming and scheming about this day for a long time. This year Whistler Blackcomb rebuilt the Super pipe and bought a new 22′ Global Cutter shaper to support our athletes and their drive to be the best in the world. Come out and see the greatest show on snow.”
The TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival is produced by Watermark Communications, a Whistler-based event production & communications company, and presented in partnership with Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb. Having grown over 16 years into the largest annual winter sports and music festival in North America,