Vail, Colorado August 19, 2002 – With the demise of the International Snowboard Federation (“ISF”), the rules and sanctioning that most of the world’s top snowboard competitions used in the running of their pro level events have all but dissolved. In response to this major gap that has been created in the realm of competitive snowboarding, the International Judges Commission (“IJC”), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has stepped up and will carry on with the important mission of offering a comprehensive set of pro rules, regulations and event certification in support of pro snowboard contests worldwide. The IJC has been an advocate for the riders on matters of judging criteria and competition formats for the halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and quarterpipe disciplines and has been instrumental in developing seeded heats, jam formats and ranking systems, the creation of which was deemed important by the riders.
The IJC is also a known leader in the areas of judges and freestyle snowboard official education and has supported all the major contests in the world (including: US Open, Grand Prix’s, X-Games, Van’s, Sim’s WSC, Nippon Open, Euro Open, Laax, Davos, Air and Style and many other high level events) by offering high quality technical expertise and teams of experienced judges. Tom Wagner, Chairman and IJC founder, states “the ISF has left a void at the pro level that needs to be addressed. The IJC has always been a positive force in assisting high level competitions around the world with judging and other technical matters. However, what most people do not know is that for over 10 years, several key IJC members were instrumental in writing the ISF freestyle rules, ranking systems and formats, so, it only makes sense that the IJC step in and fill the void with IJC Pro level rules, a system of pro level event certification, IJC snowboard official training program and a points ranking system to those events that want to have creative, progressive and a professional alternative to the FIS (International Ski Federation) model.”
Maria McNulty, the President of IJC North America, explains that this “is a formal declaration and logical extension of the services that we have already been providing to the snowboard community. Members of the IJC have always assisted in the development of new competition formats and provided guidance on the technical aspects of events. This is a great way for us to formalize these relationships. The IJC is a non-profit organization and our primary focus is to make events the highest quality possible for the riders. We feel that we are accomplishing that goal through the education of judges and snowboard officials, the development of new event formats and judging criteria, and if we can further our mission by providing rules, ranking and a certification system…then it makes perfect sense for us to do so.”
The IJC has worked with all the players at the current Pro level and believes that the certification of events, in combination with a defined set of rules and a comprehensive world ranking system that will take all events into consideration for a true world champion in the freestyle snowboard disciplines, are central to the continued advancement of the sport. With the diversity of many independent Pro level events and no (as of yet) official worldwide Pro tour, the IJC envisions a situation in which the IJC will add a high level of expertise and continuity to ensure that pro events are progressive and well run.
Greg Johnson, in charge of IJC Worldwide Development, sees the opportunity “as a way to connect the individualism of the major events like the US Open, Grand Prixs, Van’s, Laax, Nippon etc., by offering a certification for the event, as well as rules, judges and technical expertise. The IJC is only concerned with providing such services as a means of helping organizers with high-level snowboard events. In exchange for their labors, the IJC will ask only a modest fee in support of their mission, of which the majority will be funneled back into education. The ISF never supported the education mission very seriously and the IJC is all about education and training…with the ultimate goal of running the best events worldwide.”
THE INTERNATIONAL JUDGES COMMISSION
Greg Johnson and Tom Wagener established the IJC in 1998 with the support of snowboard judges worldwide. In response to a growing concern regarding the ability of snowboard judges to attain a satisfactory level of proficiency and experience, Johnson and Wagener realized that judges would need to establish their own identity and mission to solve the growing problems of educational delivery, judge training, and educational funding. Thus, the IJC was formed to bring a high degree of professionalism and structure to freestyle snowboarding. Through the establishment of a global educational forum, the IJC set forth the primary goals of training judges worldwide, through a unique and comprehensive training program, and protecting the interests of freestyle riders through fair and accurate judging and exciting contest formats.
Beginning in 1998, the IJC has conducted annual Pro Level clinics in North America, Asia and Europe in order to educate, train, test and certify judges on a worldwide basis. Moreover, competition organizers have continually looked to the IJC for the development and implementation of new competition formats that allow the riders to express their true abilities, while embracing the progression of the sport. As a natural extension of this leadership in the area of format creation, in 2000 the IJC began providing an educational component for Technical Supervisors (“TS”) into its Pro Level clinics as well developing a Snowboard Official program for the USSA in 2001.
As an autonomous, nonprofit organization, the IJC has served as a partner and consultant to national and international governing bodies, as well as event organizers around the world, providing expertise in the areas of snowboard judging and technical support. Such partners include: USSA, CSF, JSBA, ISF, USASA, XGames, Gravity Games, US Open, Nippon Open, Van Triple Crown, US Grand Prix, Innsbruck Air and Style, just to name a few. It is this close working relationship with organizers around the world that sets the IJC apart from other organizations and provides it with a unique niche within the snowboard industry.
The IJC is currently managed on a global level by Tom Wagener (Chairman), Greg Johnson (Worldwide Development) Maria McNulty (President, North America) and Kei Ishii (President, IJC Asia). All come from a pro level judging background, have been key players in snowboarding and bring a unique perspective and skills to the organization. Contact:
Tom Wagener, IJC Chairman Worldwide
Maria McNulty, IJC President North America
Greg Johnson, IJC Worldwide Development