Last weekend saw Vienna host the General Assemblies of TTR Pro Snowboarding and the World Snowboard Federation.
You may recall last year’s equivalent gathering in Barcelona, where there was some serious optimism in the air; with the FIS-controlled Olympics out the way, riders’ attention would hopefully turn back towards the World Snowboard Tour. Stale Sandbech, Torstin Horgmo and Kjersti Buaas were among the pros standing up for a new vision of a global competitive tour.
Unfortunately the resulting event calendar turned out to be more than a little underwhelming, with only three ‘Elite’ events – the Burton European & US Opens, plus the Mammoth Grand Prix.
Will the likes of X Games and Air & Style sign up this time? And if so, will it be enough to lead to a global unified tour?
To be fair, they’d made it clear 2014/15 would be a “transition phase” even before the first snows had fallen. Now, with a new season on its way, there have been some more developments. The press release is a little confusing at times (we’re still not sure what they mean by “In a move to close ranks the ownership of TTR and the World Snowboard Tour will develop from events-only to include nations and riders”) but here are the main points from Vienna:
- Major events will be charged significantly less to join the World Snowboard Tour, hopefully leading to more top-tier comps signing up.
- The events calendar will be further bolstered by the inclusion of X Games Oslo, as well as the return of the World Championships of Snowboarding (last held in 2012).
- TTR and WSF to merge.
- Work towards an authoritative ‘rider’s union’ will continue.
Last year’s event calendar turned out to be more than a little underwhelming, with only three ‘Elite’ events
It all sounds good on paper, but once again the proof will be in the pudding. Will the likes of X Games and Air & Style sign up this time? And if so, will it be enough to lead to a global unified tour? Or will FIS and its Olympic trinkets continue to be an issue, no matter how many big events play ball with TTR & WSF?
In the meantime, just be glad it’s not FIFA – here’s the press release in full:
Vienna, Austria – June 4th, 2015
At their General Assemblies in Vienna (May 29-30, 2015) the World Snowboard Federation and TTR Pro Snowboarding made important decisions to further foster the development of competitive snowboarding. In a move to close ranks the ownership of TTR and the World Snowboard Tour will develop from events-only to include nations and riders.
Representatives of 21 nations from around the globe gathered in Vienna for two days to discuss the current state and the future of snowboarding. In open sessions, board meetings, general assemblies and many informal talks 70 representatives of competitive snowboarding discussed and decided over numerous key topics. Grass-roots activities, judging and safety issues, the World Snowboard Tour´s structure, the World Championships of Snowboarding 2016 in Yabuli/China, the new tour event Oslo Winter X-Games as well as political topics like the best structure and governance for the sport.
TTR: From event-centric to a platform for nations, events and riders
A major decision was the unanimous vote in TTR´s General Assembly to bring on new owners to TTR and the World Snowboard Tour. With immediate effect the World Snowboard Federation will have 24,5 % of the votes in the General Assembly. Another 24,5 % of the votes remains reserved for an organisation representing the professional interests of snowboard competitors. TTR will continue to support the riders in their effort to establish such a stable and professionally managed “riders union”, which is a prerequisite of transferring the votes. Long-term the TTR strives to be an organisation equally held and governed by organisations represented by riders, events and nations.
Reto Lamm, President of TTR Pro Snowboarding: “This move acknowledges that the epicentre of competitive snowboarding has shifted from an event-centric world to one much more driven by nations and riders. By integrating all important stakeholders we stabilize our organisation, the World Snowboard Tour to create a well balanced system for competitive snowboarding, bringing us closer to our ultimate goal of a unified system.”
Meinhard Trojer – the new President of the World Snowboard Federation
The General Assembly of the World Snowboard Federation, consisting of 41 representatives from 21 nations, voted for Meinhard Trojer from Austria as their new president. Meinhard is a true snowboard veteran, who has contributed massively to develop snowboarding in his home-country and around the globe. He follows Marco Sampaoli, who stepped down after serving 3 years as WSF´s president, growing the organisation into a globally respected player in snowboarding. WSF is involved in grass-roots and educational work as well as judging and safety topics. It just celebrated the 10th anniversary of the World Rookie Tour (part of the World Snowboard Tour), the outstanding success of the WSF Banked Slalom Tour (21 events in 8 nations) and the South America Tour.
Meinhard Trojer, the new WSF President: “I am proud and thankful to get the trust of our delegates to lead WSF. I think the big goals for the upcoming 2 years are the World Championship of Snowboarding in China and the planned merge between TTR and WSF. Both projects could be milestones in the world of snowboarding and I am looking full motivation forward to make them successful”.
The new Board of the World Snowboard Federation
Meinhard Trojer (AUT), President
Cecilia Flatum (NOR), Vice-President
Marco Sampaoli (ITA), Vice-President
Ishihara Shigeru (JPN), Treasurer
Miriam Hanna Deller (CHN), Board Member
Sacha Giger (SUI), Board Member
Robert Joncas (CAN), Board Member
Gian Luca Zanetti (ITA), Deputy Board Member
Positive outlook for World Snowboard Tour 2015/16 and World Snowboarding Points List
214 events on the 2014/15 season of the World Snowboard Tour marked a plus of almost 30% compared to the season 2013/14. The World Snowboard Tour continues to be the biggest snowboard tour on the planet. From grass roots to Elite level, riders can climb up the ladder of events in competitive snowboarding in a regulated, safe and fair environment. TTR´s World Snowboarding Points List (WSPL) is used around the globe as the ultimate tool to see where a snowboarder stands in competition. It is generally accepted, as a result also FIS and other non-TTR events, not yet on the World Snowboard Tour use it.
For the 2015/16 season TTR is significantly lowering the requirements and fees for events on the Elite and International level to make it easier for highly professional top events to join the Tour. Without compromising on quality and safety this move will most likely attract even more events, creating continued momentum for the tour. Already now the preliminary World Snowboard Tour calendar shows an increase in the number of events on the Elite level, with prestigious newcomer the Oslo Winter X-Games in February 2016 and the World Championships of Snowboarding in March 2016 in Yabuli/China. A Chinese delegation presented in Vienna that preparations are well on the way.
To further strengthen its ties to nations, events and riders TTR Pro Snowboarding added three new board members: Satu Järvelä, former pro rider, retired TTR judge and agent from Finland, Josef “Seppi” Harml, owner of Absolut Park, Flachauwinkl and organizer of Spring Battle, and Austrian national coach Christian “Gigi” Scheidl. Australian Rich Hegarty, long time board member and organizer of The Mile High, is going to become part of the Executive Board further supporting TTR with his expertise and knowledge of many years in the industry.
The Board of the TTR
Reto Lamm (SUI), President
Maria McNulty (USA),Executive Board Member
Dirk Loesch (GER), Executive Board Member
Rich Hegarty (AUS), Executive Board Member
Hannes Schoenegger(A), Treasurer/Board Member
Andrew Mutty (USA), Board Member
Chanelle Sladics (USA), Board Member
Christian “Gigi” Scheidl (AUT), Board Member
Dagfried Forberg (NOR), Board Member
Eric Webster (USA), Board Member
Greg Johnson (USA), Board Member
Josef “Seppi” Harml (AUT), Board Member
Marc Bajona (ESP), Board Member
Risto Scott (CAN), Board Member
Sandro Garcia (PER),Board Member
Satu Järvelä (FIN), Board Member
Thomaz Autran Garcia, Board Member
Tricia Byrnes (USA), Board Member
Zack Dalton (USA), Board Member
Meinhard Trojer (AUT), WSF Representative Board Member
Stay tuned on WSF and TTR websites for upcoming news.