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New school skiers boycott FIS



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And while Robinson acknowledges that FIS freestyle suffers from a lack of vision, the original goal was to make it successful as an Olympic sport. It’s difficult to be revolutionary within the FIS, which is a political body and slow to change, but Robinson feels the benefits of being part of an established international organization outweigh the hassles.

"We’re not really sure what the underlying issue is – I suspect it may be about control but not by the FIS. We applaud the innovation and spirit that has breathed new life into skiing in recent years and hope it continues," says Robinson. "We would never discourage any of the amazing things that are happening on skis, we simply want to give it another forum to gain exposure to skiers and fans around the world so that the sport continues to grow."

Szocs says he can understand the FIS’s position on new school skiing and sympathizes with their need to revolutionize freestyle, but questions the widom of having two tours.

"It’s tough to be supportive and help them with their events because we’ve been working hard on our own contests, like the U.S. Open, the Whistler Open, the X-Games, stuff like that," says Szocs. Most new school events are run by individual sponsors and not sanctioned by any governing body.

"The FIS were pretty understanding – I think they know that sports like freestyle are progressing too slowly, and that there is a lot of discontent within the whole snowboard scene."

While Szocs says he was relieved that the FIS doesn’t have any immediate plans to take over new school sports, he doesn’t think the issue of ownership is resolved just yet.

"They say they don’t want it to be a World Cup tour, and they don’t want it in the Olympics, and I think if they can stick to that it would be good because it would make the events they do put on even bigger. The problem is that their track record really doesn’t suggest they’re going to stick to anything," says Szocs.

"It’s all about the money. As soon as there is enough money in it, they’re going to want to do a tour, and once there’s a tour and the money’s even bigger, there’s a chance it could go to the Olympics. We don’t really want to go that route. We want freeskiers to be able to enter any event they want, make money from sponsors however they see fit, and to keep the creativity and progression in the sport. The moment you place restrictions on something like this, you ruin it."