Slopestyle Must Change To Attract More Interest

That’s the view of the Park & Pipe team at the International Ski Federation.  They say programmes are too long and there are too many breaks in the action to keep viewers engaged.

The conclusion came at the Park & Pipe sub-committee’s spring meeting, held online.

“In some key respects our competition presentation needs to change,” it says in a statement posted on the FIS website

“While our events feature the most spectacular action on snow and carry plenty of cool cachet, long programme run-times and breaks between action mean viewers don’t stay engaged – especially for slopestyle events.”

They are looking at a series of possible changes, including:

  • Standardising and shortening the duration of events with two-run finals for slopestyle
  • Holding women’s and men’s finals on separate days
  • Reducing the number of athletes in finals

They report that video judging “continues to be successful, while the section-by-section judging system remains a point of conversation – especially in the freeski community”.

Several countries said the halfpipe event is struggling as the number of halfpipes decreases, along with the number of competitors.

Cardrona, New Zealand.

Cardrona, slopestyle Image © PlanetSKI

The meeting also looked back on a strange Covid 19-affected season that saw many events scrapped.

“Unfortunately, our calendars were the most heavily impacted of any under the Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski umbrella, with more than half the season’s events cancelled,” the Park & Pipe sub-committee states.

“Still, when one considers that Park & Pipe events were the only ones that required intercontinental travel in 2020/21, and the huge successes we saw at the events that were held, there’s plenty of positives to take away from last season.”

World Cup competitions in 2020-21 were held at Stubai and Kreischberg in Austria, Laax and Silvaplana in Switzerland and Aspen in the USA.

Aspen also held 2021 World Championships, which was “a huge success”.

One piece of good news was the small number of Covid-19 infections.

Out of 6,000 tests administered at Park & Pipe events only eight athletes and staff tested positive.

“Despite the enormous challenges presented this past season, we saw a remarkable commitment from our organisers, athletes, teams and FIS staff both on the ground and in the office, working together to follow the guidelines in order to have a safe and successful season,” the statement says.

What’s your view? Does slopestyle need to change?

Feel free to comment over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.

Cardrona, slopestyle Image © PlanetSKI

Cardrona, slopestyle Image © PlanetSKI