Slopestyle, the new event added to the Sochi Winter Olympics slate, is once more in the spotlight. The International Ski Federation (FIS) has recently released the course’s design, less than six months out from the Olympics event on the opening February 8-9 weekend.
Slopestyle, approved for the Sochi Olympics just two years ago, is an obstacle-stoked course where skiers and snowboarders throw down honed gyroscopic tricks. The sport was hastily rushed through the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approval process to prime the Olympic slate with even more dangerous sports.
The FIS called upon several vested interest parties to contribute to this course set-up. “A team of experts worked with several groups in many meetings, and of course riders and skiers exchanged thoughts and ideas for what would work best to have spectacular events. We surveyed the best slopestyle courses, jumps, and rails sessions around the world collecting athlete’s comments and developed the final design,” said FIS Snowboard Coordinator for Freestyle Events, Roberto Moresi.
The planned design consists of three rail features, and three jumps – lackluster by world class athlete standards. Ideally, for this world showcase, the course should be a challenging one to attract the best performances from these eager athletes. This conservative design falls one jib and one jump short of last year’s Dew Tour and X Games courses, both lauded by all athletes. Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, a favorite going in to Sochi, dissed the design in a Star interview, "I want to do this triple cork at the Olympics and all, but right now it hasn't been set up that well.”
Yet, other athletes, as reported by FreeSkier, are impressed, and welcomed this design's release. With these course schematics now in hand, some of these aspiring Winter Olympics boarders and skiers are now downsizing their plans for amplitude and difficulty. Instead, many will be focusing on tweaking some finesse into their runs to earn every single style point they can.
Promoting this new Olympics sport, Joseph Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Skiing Coordinator, said, “Everyone, from the course designer to the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee and FIS experts are committed to providing the best-possible course for the Olympic debut. It is going to be a great introduction for this event, which goes back to the basic roots of freestyle skiing.”