New Kid on The Block: Slopestyle
Slopestyle got the official green light only a month before the World Champs opening ceremonies. Luckily, Park City Mountain Resort’s park needed only minor adjustments to welcome
the world’s best.
A staple on the Winter X Games for the past 10 years, slopestyle skiing perhaps represents the
most accessible form of competitive skiing as terrain parks have popped up in virtually every
resort in the country.
“The cool thing about slopestyle is that all you need is a little patch of snow and a rail or a small
jump and kids can learn so many different tricks,” said the women’s slopestyle winner, Australian Anna Segal. “They don’t need those two kilometer-long runs like in Germany and Austria
to be able to train. It open’s a lot of doors for counties that don’t necessarily have the terrain to
train on larger facilities.”
For Segal, it was a rare treat to feel that she was representing her country. “It was a different
feeling to anything else;” she said. “It wasn’t about my career, or sponsors, or money. It was
about representing your country for the sport that you love.”
American Keri Herman, the slopestyle bronze medalist, agreed. “I’m really excited to represent
America here,” she said. “It’s just really an honor to be part of something so new and fresh.”
The Eye of the IOC
Several important-looking folks were watching the slopestyle and halfpipe events very
closely as the sports campaigned for spots on the 2014 Olympic schedule.
“We’ve had good participation in terms of number of nations and exceptionally high
media interest with live television coverage, not only of the competitions but also of the
qualifications as well,” said an optimistic FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis, who was on
hand to see that the IOC’s experience was a pleasant one. “We are reaching into prime
time in a large promotion of the interested world.”
The visiting IOC members will generate a report of what they saw in Park City to be
evaluated by the IOC Executive Board. The final decision is expected at the board’s next
meeting in April, at which point a three-year quota assignment and qualification system
will be initiated.
“I think freeskiing is the future of skiing really,” said Anna Segal. “You go to any resort
and there are kids jibbing and skiing park and halfpipe and for them to ignore it is just going to keep the Olympics stale.”
“This is one of the fastest, most progressive sports out there, people love it,” added Alex
Scholpy. “It’s so fun to watch that I think it would be a big hit at the Olympics.”