Pro skiers take aim at FIS in passion-filled blog posts

Pro skiers take aim at FIS in passion-filled blog posts

As you may or may not be aware, the 2015 Winter X Games, happening now at Aspen Snowmass, overlap on the calendar with the 2015 FIS World Championships, ongoing in Krieschberg, Austria. This has been a point of contention for many athletes, who were forced to forgo competing in one event in favor of the other.

Australian Russ Henshaw was the first to make a public statement, writing on his blog, “Both events are super important to me so making the decision definitely wasn’t easy.” Ultimately, Henshaw opted for the World Champs. He cites two recent injuries at X Games and the worldwide appeal of the FIS events as his justification.

“The fact I hurt myself the last two years at the X Games definitely swayed my decision to go to the World Champs a little,” he wrote, “but also the fact that I get to represent my country in an event that seems to have a much broader audience than just the action sports world. People who aren’t even involved in snow sports or can’t seem to get their head around what freeskiing even is, know about the World Championships.”

Henshaw also wrote, “Don’t ask me why two of the biggest events are scheduled at the same time, but they are.” Despite the trouble, Henshaw would be rewarded for his choice with a silver medal in Krieschberg, as we learned this morning.

Olympic gold medalist David Wise seems to answer the above question, though: it was on account of arrogance on the part of the FIS, “arrogance that is rooted in 105 years of history,” he wrote on his website. The post comes just days before Wise will drop into the halfpipe on Buttermilk Mountain, in an attempt to secure an X Games superpipe four-peat. Wise had to turn down the opportunity to defend his World Champs title as a result.


David Wise shows off his new bling, X Games Aspen 2014.

“FIS will defend themselves by saying that they had their event scheduled first,” Wise adds, “and while that might be ‘officially’ true, it is not actually true. The X Games are always scheduled during the weekend before the Super Bowl. While they are internationally known, the X Games are designed and marketed toward an American audience, so the best time to get viewership for action sports is during the one weekend of the season that there is no professional football going on. The World Championships, on the other hand, have had varying schedules over the years. It has never before been an issue to attend both events. When the FIS World Championship schedule was announced many voices, including mine, raised concerns over the scheduling conflict. We offered many solutions, including moving ski halfpipe and slopestyle to the very beginning of the World Champs so that we could still attend both events. FIS obstinately refused to work with us in any way.”

I highly suggest reading Wise’s entire post.

Sweden’s own Jacob Wester chimed in on the conversation today, as well, also via blog. Wester, whose post is titled, “Newsflash, FIS – no one cares about your World Championships,” takes a slightly more philosophical approach to the matter. Nevertheless, his message is clear.

“Now, with both events underway, and the top 16 halfpipe and slopestyle skiers in the world on location in Aspen, I can’t help but think that the massively pompous FIS officials must be scratching their heads just a little bit. Did the World Championships suddenly become a second-grade contest? The millions of dollars plowed into this project must certainly seem a bit wasted now that the world’s best athletes aren’t there? Isn’t that what the World Champs is all about?”

And here we were, thinking the debate over FIS’ legitimacy might lull in a non-Olympic year…

Related: See the 2015 Winter X Games event & television schedule

Upgrade Your Inbox

Don't waste time seeking out the best skiing content; we'll send it all right to you.