First ever Olympic qualifiers for park and pipe skiers are around the corner
The AFP announced this week that the first two FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cups of the year will be Gold Level AFP World Tour events. These two competitions offer park and pipe skiers their first ever experience with the Olympic qualifying process. The FIS World Cup points on the line are key to acquiring an invitation to compete at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
The Tour kicks off with the 100% Pure New Zealand Games, August 20-22 in Cardrona, NZ. This will be a halfpipe event only. The Games have been sanctioned as a Gold Level event for the past few seasons, drawing a wide array of talent. Gus Kenworthy and Devin Logan both took wins at the event last season; the points earned helping each to secure the 2011/12 AFP Overall Titles and the accompanying Sarah Burke trophies.
100% Pure New Zealand Games 2011. Photo: Getty.com
“It’s been exciting to see the New Zealand Winter Games grow over the past few years and the event just keeps getting bigger and better,” stated Steele Spence, AFP Operations Manager and Winter Games Head Judge. “As the first big competition of the season, The Games attract many of the top athletes in the world which should put this year’s event at the higher end of the available Gold Level rankings points.”
The Tour heads next to Ushuaia, Argentina for the End of the World Challenge, September 3-8. The slopestyle event—which will be held at Cerro Castor Ski Resort—is new to the AFP World Tour competition roster. This marks the first time a FIS Freestyle Skiing Slopestyle World Cup has been hosted in South America.
“The AFP was approached by this event back in May, well before the World Cup schedule was announced,” notes AFP Executive Director Eric Zerrenner, “and they have been very flexible, communicative and understanding with our sanctioning process,” he adds. “While we don’t have a history with this event, we have been working with their organizers for a long time and feel confident in the quality of the event they will put on.”
The AFP has also deemed The North Face Freeski Open of New Zealand (Snowpark, NZ from August 28-September 1) and the Toyota One Hit Wonder Down Under (Thredbo, AUS from September 11-15) to be Gold Level events this season. Registration for the One Hit Wonder is now open.
From the AFP:
“The AFP sanctions freeskiing events across the globe based on criteria outlined in the AFP’s Sanctioning Packet. Sanctioning requirements consist of elements such as prize money, course design, level of competition, judges panel, event dates and media coverage that bring a consistency and fairness to the hundreds of freeskiing events held worldwide throughout the season. Events that meet AFP’s stated sanctioning requirements will typically be awarded the associated level of sanctioning – Platinum to Bronze. Within that level of sanctioning, there is a range of points that athletes can earn based on their results at that events and the strength of the field based on AFP’s 52-week ranking of each competing athlete. This will determine the level of points available for that event and points will be distributed to the competing athletes accordingly.”