The spring 2022 FIS Committee meetings took place over the past couple of weeks in the online realm, including meetings for the Park & Pipe subcommittee as well as the big Snowboard, Freestyle and Freestyle Committee.
2021/22 season recap:
Following a 2020/21 season that was heavily impacted by the covid-19 pandemic, the 2021/22 season was a return to a much more ‘normal’ situation, with full World Cup seasons taking place for halfpipe and slopestyle on both the freeski and snowboard side of things, while we also saw two big air events for both sports. Though the ongoing pandemic situation made life on the World Cup more complicated and difficult than it was pre-covid, determined efforts by all stakeholders in 2021/22 meant that we were able to enjoy a full and successful season.
Through the whole 2021/22 calendar we saw only one competition cancelled (freeski slopestyle in Tignes (FRA), due to weather), and each organiser at each event brought something exceptional to the table. With excellent camaraderie and cooperation from teams, athletes, national associations, and organisers, impressive TV numbers for the season (300 million viewers reached for all of SB/FS/FK, of which some 1/3 can be attributed to Park & Pipe viewership) 2021/22 was a huge success by essentially every metric.
Throw in a non-stop stream of inspiring showings for both freeski and snowboard at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, strong Continental Cup calendars in both North America and Europe, a top-level Junior World Championships hosted by Leysin (SUI), and you’ve got a big year for Park & Pipe pointing the way to even bigger things in the future.
Proposals, rule-changes and topics of discussion:
Perhaps the most important proposal going before the FIS Council on Wednesday, May 25 is the separation of the competition rule books for the various Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski events. While Park & Pipe/Freeski have functioned comfortably under the current harmonised rulebook, other events under the Committee umbrella have expressed a need to see the book separated once again to best suit the respective competitions.
Significant in last week’s meetings was a discussion of competition formats and TV presentation, as varying qualification and finals formats, overlong runtimes, and weather delays have proven to have a negative impact on the broadcast product of Park & Pipe events. Park & Pipe will align with the Future Vision Working Group in establishing formats that not only provide the best opportunity for the athletes and sport but maximize commercial and broadcast partnership value. Similarly, that evaluation will continue with on-going discussion with various stakeholders through the summer into the fall meetings.
Judging and judges education remains an issue of the highest priority, as quality, dependable judging remains one of the most fundamental aspects of our events. Throughout the World Cup season and Olympic Games in Beijing, our judges conducted their duties with professionalism and dependability, making themselves available for discussion with teams and athletes throughout the season to ensure transparency and consistency.
Refining and improving judging in Park & Pipe events is an ever-evolving project. Through open communication, comprehensive online courses and resources to ensure easy access and education for judges around the world, and initiatives such as the special Judges Working Group set to review section-by-section judging in Freeski, the work continues to maintain World Cup judging as the gold standard.
2022/23 World Cup calendar, 2023 & 2025 World Championships venues:
The preliminary 2022/23 Freeski and Park & Pipe calendars were revealed last week, with 12 venues hosting a total of 14 competitions on the Freeski side of things, and 11 venues hosting 15 competitions on the Snowboard side of things.
Freeski will see four big air, four halfpipe and six slopestyle World Cup competitions go down, while it will be four slopestyle, five halfpipe, and six big air competitions for the Snowboarders. We’ll have a closer look at the World Cup calendar on the website later this week.
The Bakuriani 2023 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships are set to take place in Georgia from February 19 to March 6, 2023. After a strong showing at the slopestyle test event that took place last season, it’s looking like all the pieces are in place for an exciting set of world champs competitions next winter.
Last week’s meetings also saw presentations from a selection of major hosts from events further down the line, and we very much look forward to the 2024 Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon (KOR), the St Moritz (SUI) 2025 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, and the Milano-Cortina 2026 Olympic Winter Games, which is coming up in just a short three-and-a-half years.