The news of Olympic team selection is starting to filter through, and we'll have the full lists for you as soon as they're locked in. One rider who's not going, though, is German-American Ethan Morgan. Yesterday he posted this on his Instagram account:
The article has attracted a lot of comments on the current state of contests, with Ethan adding later that "@sagekotsenburg , @hhelgason and Kazu are the only three contest riders i look up to now... We need more riders like this!"
Whitelines sat down with Ethan in Issue 111, and the 'lympics was one of the subjects covered. "I mean not everyone can say they went to the Olympics", he said at the time. "It would be cool. But if it doesn't work out I won't be too bummed." In just about the same breath, he also stated that he wouldn't be taking the comp all that seriously if he did qualify. He and his friends would instead follow the example set by the mohawked, horn-throwing Heikki Sorsa in 2002.
We can only speculate on what tipped him over the edge at this qualifier, but one thing's for sure: he's making a stand against FIS and, it seems, competitive snowboarding in general. After all, he may prefer the way the World Snowboard Tour (formerly the TTR) runs things, but as his post suggests, spin-to-win will ultimately win out no matter who's in charge.
And he's got a point. Take Markus Keller, the Swiss veteran who was recently competing at the WST-sanctioned Burton European Open. He breezed through halfpipe qualification with no spin bigger than a 720, and vowed to do the same in the final. We loved his super stylish run, but it still didn't get him on the podium. And that was in a seriously depleted field - if the big hitters who were over in North America for the Olympic qualifiers had instead gone to Laax, Markus wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell. Sad, maybe, but true.
What do you think? Is Ethan right to say that FIS have no place in snowboarding? Should they 'give us snowboarding back' - or should he and likeminded pros try to TAKE it back through boycotting? Are WST events any more creative? Or is it all too little too late anyway? Leave your comments below.