Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, David Ortiz, Cy Young, Roger Clemens and Carl Yastrzemski are just a fraction of the prolific athletes to have showcased their talents for the Boston Red Sox at baseball’s beloved Fenway Park. Today, it was announced that some of freeskiing’s (and snowboarding’s) heaviest hitters (pun intended) will be spinning, flipping and soaring throughout the iconic baseball stadium, come winter 2016, as USSA has confirmed that Fenway Park will host its first-ever big air competition on-field, February 11-12.
“I believe that this is going to be a huge success and am confident that Boston is the right market for the event,” said Mike Jaquet, Chief Marketing Officer for the USSA. “I hope that everybody in the freeskiing community understands the magnitude of the opportunity that we have. Between all of the athletes, the venue and the fans, we’re going to put on a great show.”
Breaking: @USFreeskiing will host a big air event at #FenwayPark, February 11-12, 2016. The scaffolding is said to tower 100 feet tall inside of the iconic baseball stadium. Stoked is an understatement. For more information, head over to freeskier.com. Image provided by USSA. #FREESKIER #Skiing #ThisIsSkiing
The announcement comes on the heels of the IOC’s (International Olympic Committee) announcement to include Snowboard Big Air in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea. Ski Big Air was not, however, included as an Olympic event for the upcoming Games.
“Since before the Sochi Olympics, we’ve been lobbying to add snowboarding and freeskiing into the Olympics,” Jaquet notes. “That was our quest and initial mission with the F.I.S. For the past two years, we’ve been trying to site a stadium to host a big air to influence the IOC’s decision, but were unable to make a deal with the right partners. While we are happy with the IOC’s decision to include Snowboard Big Air in the 2018 games, we’re of course disappointed about freeskiing not being included.” We here at FREESKIER remain hopeful that success of events such as the big air at Fenway will generate traction for ski big air to be included in future Olympic games.
In its 103-year history, the ballpark has never hosted any skiing or snowboarding events. So, some might ask, “why Fenway?” Well, the real question should be, “why not?” For years, the historic park has hosted a plethora of the world’s best athletes and performers and the city of Boston is, in fact, a major market for skiing and snowboarding fanatics. “Organizationally, we aim to advance our Grand Prix tour and do something out of the box,” adds Jaquet. “We strongly feel that this will be a successful event to promote and progress the sports and to put skiing and snowboarding on display in Boston, which is arguably the best market possible.”
After a seriously snowy East Coast winter, last year, it seems like an appropriate time for the city of Boston to share the wealth with the ski community. As far as Jaquet is concerned, the city of Boston, Massachusetts can expect to see a wide range of freeskiing’s finest athletes, due to the timely scheduling of the event and a healthy prize purse.
“We specifically put it on the schedule so that nothing was against it, giving the athletes the opportunity to come,” states Jaquet. “We’ve also almost doubled the prize purse of a typical Grand Prix competition, as an incentive to come. Barring injury, you should expect almost the entire pro and amateur U.S. Freeskiing team to be there. We’ve made it a part of our program. All of our coaches and techs will be there. We plan to host a great field of athletes, if not the best field.”
Event organizers anticipate a snow-covered scaffolding setup more than 100 feet tall to stand inside of the stadium (Note: Fenway’s Green Monster stands at just 37-feet). Athletes will takeoff somewhere in the vicinity of “second base” and finish at “home plate.” Also, attendees can expect live entertainment from yet to be determined musical guests.
NBC Sports Network will air live coverage of the Bean-town throw down Thursday, Feb. 11, from 8:30-10:00 p.m. ET of the snowboarding event and Friday, Feb. 12, from 9:00-10:30 p.m. of the freeskiing event. Also, you can be sure that team FREESKIER will be on-site, live tweeting all of the action. Tickets for the event are expected to range from $10-$250.
What are your thoughts on a big air contest at Fenway Park? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.