As many of the world's top slopestyle riders -- including, for the first time, women -- gather in Oslo, Norway for The Oakley Arctic Challenge this weekend, event founder Terje Haakonsen has taken the opportunity to introduce some snowboard politics into the festivities.
Haakonsen, famous for his outspoken stance against snowboarding's Olympic inclusion back in 1998 has been voicing his opinion on the rapidly-approaching International Olympic Committee decision on whether or not to include snowboard slopestyle in the 2014 Olympic Games. You can read his "Open Letter To Snowboarding" here, get up to speed on what, exactly, the issue is here, and watch a short interview with Haakonsen on the subject from early in the winter here. On Wednesday he gathered all the snowboarders assembled at TOAC to talk about the importance of letting the FIS know that they want a say in how the events that they will be competing in are run.
Haakonsen unveiled the "Snowboarding 180 Olympic Charter" -- signed by all snowboarders at the event. Here's what it says:
Snowboarding is no longer the kid brother in the Olympic Winter Games. With over 30 million Americans watching the Vancouver halfpipe finals, snowboarding has a strong presence in the Olympic landscape. In the 180 Charter, the best snowboarders in the world recognize the Olympics as the potential pinnacle event of the sport, but only on certain conditions. They want their voices to be heard in an open and democratic decision making system, and they want a new order for qualifying to the Olympics.
Currently, the International Ski Federation (FIS) is running the Olympic qualifications. The ski federation does not currently do a world slopestyle tour but has announced that they will establish this if the discipline is accepted into the Olympic program. According to the 180 Olympic Charter, this will lead to conflicting event dates for the riders since there are existing slopestyle tours with established and progressive events. The snowboarders ask the IOC to make a 180 turn: Conflicting dates will hurt the progression of the sport. They want a common Olympic ranking for all world-class events, not only for FIS-events.
The Snowboarding 180 Olympic Charter is outlined below:
Snowboarding should be run by snowboarders.
We recognize the Olympics as a potential pinnacle event of snowboarding, but only if our voices are heard.
All snowboard events and organizations throughout the world must listen to the driving force of our sport: the athletes.
Snowboarders want a transparent and democratic process in all decision-making systems that have an effect on our daily lives and occupation.
Snowboarding will never reach its full potential with conflicting dates of major snowboarding events.
We do not want a new world tour for slopestyle qualifications.
We want an Olympic ranking to reduce the date conflicts of major events.
We believe the International Olympic Committee has a responsibility to listen to our voices and make way for the unleashing of snowboarding's true potential.
We want all powers to start a dialogue to find a solution for the better good of the sport.
Preserving the status quo in snowboarding is not an option.