Big Air-Team SBX Proposed for 2018

04 June 2014 11:00
 Over 14,000 spectators packed downtown Denver for a FIS World Cup big air snowboarding event in 2011.
Over 14,000 spectators packed downtown Denver for a FIS World Cup big air snowboarding event in 2011. -
Tom Kelly

On the heels of the successful debut of new Olympic events like slopestyle snowboarding, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is proposing the addition of two new Olympic snowboarding events.

USSA will make its formal proposal to the International Ski Federation (FIS), the sport’s governing body, when its entire membership meets June 1-6 in Barcelona for its FIS Congress for the inclusion of big air snowboarding and team snowboardcross.

Big air has been contested at the FIS World Championships since 2003 while SBX has been an integral and popular Olympic event since 2006.

Jeremy Forster, Snowboarding and Freeskiing Program Director, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, said: "America has long been the epicenter of action sports. We’ve continually taken a leadership position in pushing new events in the past with SBX, slopestyle and the new freeskiing events.

We have strong multi-national support for this initiative and are optimistic that FIS and IOC will work together to get these events onto the program for 2018."

The inclusion of SBX would come from within the same athlete pool as presently exists, while it is anticipated that most of the big air field would come from slopestyle athletes.

"As we have all seen with the addition of halfpipe into the Olympics, it became a viewer favorite. When slopestyle was added, it was also one of the favorites with the third most streams of the entire games and one of the most watched sports.

With big air, it would bring even more snowboarding to the world and, if we do it right it, would benefit snowboarding and the Olympics," explained Sage Kotsenburg.

The 2014 Olympic Slopestyle Gold medallist added: "I would actually be really excited about big air being in the Olympics. The first and foremost important thing I would like to see happen would be figuring out the best format that would benefit the riders and the viewers."

Alex Pullin, two time SBX World Champion, said: "The team event is a great way to get the most out of a course built for FIS World Cup, World Championships and Olympics.

Not only is it a way to give the riders more opportunities to race, but more so to get the most out of a track with a different style of racing, rather than a double event. It¹s great for spectators and at the end of the day its more racing and action. I support the idea to have the team event as an Olympic discipline in 2018."

Dominique Maltais, a two-time Olympic medallist in snowboard cross, stated: "These two displines have a lot of potential. Snowboardcross has been one of the most watched sports in three Olympics.

Having team snowboardcross as an offical discipline at the Olympics would give us more visibility, helping athletes to have better sponsors, making our sport grow and the providing an opportunity for youth to see the team spirit  in our sport."

Here is a short video where some of the US athletes also show their support for the proposal.