A perfect storm has been brewing in the world of competitive snowboarding this winter. And in February, the near-constant maelstrom of dissatisfaction with FIS and Olympic politics swirling in the Norwegian snowboarding waters combined with the blustery winds of youth that have been propelling slopestyle snowboarding through a rapid-fire progression of one-up tricks all season to finally bring the tempest to a head.
It started with the impending decision of the IOC to include slopestyle in the 2014 Olympics, with 180 Snowboarding Olympic Charter, and the talk Terje Haakonsen delivered to all the snowboarders competing at his Arctic Challenge contest before they signed it.
Haakonsen, who is most famous outside the snowboard world for boycotting the Olympics back when he most likely would have won the first snowboarding Gold, has long been outspoken in his opinion that the top-tier riders in competitive snowboarding need to start taking responsibility for the direction the sport is headed in. It seems that, finally, some snowboarders have started to listen.
Around the time of the U.S. Open a link to a new website called wearesnowboarding.com started making the rounds on the snowboard Twitter wires. Then at Winter X Europe we got news of a We Are Snowboarding meeting, and were allowed to sit in on it to see what it was all about. At that meeting Chas Guldemond stood before the competing riders at WXE and explained his belief that it is time for snowboarders to work together to have a united voice, and a say in how the events they compete in are structured, scheduled, and run. Call it a "riders union." Call it W.A.S.
The meeting was the second of its kind. The first took place at the Open. Both were designed to see if there was enough support in the snowboarding community to turn the idea of W.A.S. into a functional, viable reality. At this point there is a lot of passion behind the idea. Whether or not it will succeed will depend on the will of the snowboarders involved to translate their enthusiasm into actual work. Only time will tell on that front.
As of now, we're witnessing the beginning of a new movement in snowboarding. It's young, it's rapidly taking shape and defining itself, but at this point, it's not up to us out here to say what W.A.S. is and what it will do. Better to let them say it themselves, in their own words: Watch Video »