COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO (Dec. 17) – One of America’s longest running action sports events series will find a long-term home at Colorado’s Copper Mountain Resort. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced a four year extension through Dec. 2014 for the U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix at Copper. The event combines both snowboarding and skiing halfpipe events on the same weekend.
Last weekend’s Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix marked the first time in the series’ 15 year history that skiing was added to the program. Copper is a popular resort for both freeskiers and snowboarders and has been a mainstay of the USSA’s Grand Prix as well as development programs such as the Revolution Tour, Race to the Cup and Holeshot Tour.
The addition of freeskiing, in the form of a major halfpipe skiing event, brought a new focus on the Grand Prix at Copper, which was televised nationally on NBC. Halfpipe skiing is one of three new action sports being seriously considered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion on the 2014 program in Sochi, Russia.
“Freeskiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities in our sport today with tens of millions of participants,” said USSA’s Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. “This event is a perfect fit for the culture at Copper Mountain and will continue to help our partners market to an exciting demographic each year.”
“The combination of skiing and snowboarding in a high profile event such as the U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix is a perfect mix for us at Copper Mountain, especially with everything we are doing at Woodward at Copper,” says Jesse True, Copper’s Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Woodward at Copper. “We look forward to playing host to the top skiers and snowboarders over the next four years.”
In October the IOC reviewed potential new sports for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, giving slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, along with halfpipe skiing, a go-ahead for final review at respective World Championships this season. IOC President Jacques Rogge was empowered to make the final decision.
The encouraging direction by the IOC and the addition of a new long term event at Copper was received well by the sport’s stars.
“Over the last few years freeskiers and snowboarders have begun to share venues and competition sites a lot more. It’s really great to finally have that merging happen at the Grand Prix level as well,” explained Jen Hudak (Salt Lake City). “The energy was really good, everyone was excited about it and the pipe was riding great, so it’s definitely a great opportunity for us to show the world what skiers are capable of and hopefully it will help in our push for the Olympics.”
“It’s big for us. I feel that our form of skiing is getting viewed as a little more legitimate,” said Simon Dumont (Bethel, ME), who has six X Games superpipe medals, including two gold, to his credit. “It’s cool to be in a contest incorporated with snowboarders and it’s also nice because it’s a FIS and USSA event. Hopefully we will get a little better organization to make that push to the Olympics.”
Following the Grand Prix, Copper played host to a four-day Revolution Tour, with slopestyle and halfpipe for both skiers and snowboarders.