Following a meeting of the event Style Council on March 19, organizers of the second annual World Skiing Invitational, scheduled for April 13-16, 2001 at Whistler/Blackcomb, have announced that Slopestyle will be added to the event and Skiercross will be removed.
"As organizers, weve had to make a difficult decision to remove Skiercross from the 2001 WSI schedule," says Doug Perry, Managing Director, Resort Communications Group. "A number of factors influenced our decision, and we ask the industry to support this move as the WSI continues to evolve. The new Slopestyle discipline is an exciting addition and meets the overwhelming demands of a large number of athletes."
One of the major factors in removing Skiercross was the decision by Atomic Worldwide to increase their event profile by adopting the Slopestyle discipline. With Atomic adopting Slopestyle, organizers will require time to find a new sponsor for the Skiercross. Considered the most expensive of the events due to the high costs of building a world-class racecourse, this does not seem likely for this year.
"Atomic has adopted the Slopestyle discipline to showcase how our product transcends beyond traditional racing and into the freeskiing movement," says Steve Kerr, Territory Manager, Atomic Canada. "We are still very much in support of racers everywhere, and are still committed to our racing heritage. However, we believe that we will more effectively meet our objectives through sponsoring the Slopestyle event in Whistler where freeskiing is widely endorsed."
This decision was addressed at Mondays Style Council meeting. The Style Council, an advisory board comprised of industry representatives and athletes, understands the importance of listening to, and respecting the decisions made by important industry partners like Atomic. Members of the Style Council include Flip McCririck, Mike Douglas, Glenn Mitterndorfer, Mark Taylor, Uncle E, John Decesare, and Doug Perry.
The World Skiing Invitational will invite 20 athletes to participate in each of the Big Air and Slopestyle disciplines. Invitations are based on results during the 2001 season at the worlds most important competitions, plus current world rankings. A limited number of wildcard positions will be offered to athletes who, for various reasons, have not accumulated the necessary competition results. A prize purse of $50,000 will be divided between the two disciplines.
The backdrop to the World Skiing Invitational is Whistlers TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival, taking place April 13-22, 2001.