Olympic Boardercross A Go Or No Go?

The inclusion of boardercross in the Salt City Olympics remains uncertain with the Federation International du Ski (FIS) supporting the event and the Salt Lake Organzing Committee reluctant to include it.

“The lineup of events tabled by SLOC to the IOC in Korea in July did not include boardercross,” says Karan Karfonta SLOC's project manger for Alpine, GS, and snowboarding at Park City. “We anticipated the lineup would be ratified at the time, but a final decision has been postponed.

“However while we know IOC could look at other events, we anticipate the IOC will in fact only be considering what is currently on the table,” continues Karfonta. “This means at the moment we are assuming boardercross will not be in the lineup, and our current planning and scheduling reflects that.”

However Gian Franco Kasper, president of the FIS told SNOWboarding Business that the federation was continuing to push hard for boardercross.

“We realize the SLOC is very reluctant to include the event,” says Kasper from FIS headquarters in Switzerland. “And there are many valid reasons–both financial and technical–why it is problematic. There are scheduling difficulties, then there are limits on the numbers of spectators on the hill at any time, so if boardercross is included, another sport will have its allocation reduced. Then at the moment there is no large-scale push from television for its inclusion. But all these problems are solvable.

“As the world's governing body we are strongly backing the event,” continues Kasper. “We have tabled it ourselves for approval at the IOC meeting in December. If the IOC does approve our request, it's very unlikely SLOC will not also accommodate it. It will then just be a question of sorting the problems and dividing up the financial burden.”

Halfpipe Venue Set While the boardercross situation remains murky, the location of the halfpipe has become crystal clear. Rumors were flying throughout the summer that the pipe would be moved from Park City to an offsite location such as Deer Valley. These rumors have now been officially laid to rest.

In a meeting between Park City and FIS officials that took place on August 3, a decision was made to locate the halfpipe in the finish area of the snowboard Grand Slalom course.

This will entail considerable excavation work of the finish area in order to create a bowl-like environment conducive for spectators. There is no problem finding necessary space and pitch for the pipe. In fact, a halfpipe will be dug in this area for the FIS World Cup event in March.

The excavations will allow a spectator-friendly viewing area, something deemed necessary after Nagano's poor spectator environment. Spectators at the GS and other Alpine events will also benefit.

The contest will be the first event to be held at the newly excavated area Since the current scheduling places the halfpipe competition during the first couple of days of the Olympics, practice sessions may be held even before the official start of the games.