Snowboarders to Get World Snowboarding Championships Beginning Next Year

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The Ticket to Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour, the grassroots, snowboarder-controlled organization that organizes worldwide snowboarding competitions, has announced the creation of the World Snowboarding Championships, to get started during the 2011/2012 snowboarding season.

The freestyle-focused boarding event will host men’s and women’s halfpipe and slopestyle events for the first championship, with more styles of competitive snowboarding possibly to be added in the future.

The championship will take place every four years, falling at the midway point between Winter Olympic games. Organizers hope that spacing the event this way will bring more sustained attention to a sport whose popularity hit unprecedented new heights during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Pending approval from the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, the games are set to take place in Oslo, with that city having already agreed to foot a large portion of the bill for the preparations and the event itself. Organizers say that, after the Oslo event, the championships will change locations every four years. TTR will accept applications from potential host cities and make their determinations about two years ahead of time.

The World Snowboarding Championships are the brainchild of a group of representatives of the sport from all over the world. It was put forth at the 2009 TTR convention in Austria, and it was passed by unanimous vote in 2010.

Representatives of the sport and boarders themselves are excited about what this means for their game. The President of TTR has said that this act is “a great step forward for the TTR and the world of snowboarding as a while,” and some are saying that this decision finally puts snowboarding an equal footing with longer-established winter sports such as skiing and ice skating.

The challenge, of course, will be to draw attention to the championships without the huge juggernaut of the Olympics to support them. All winter sports have non-Olympic championships on a regular basis, but few garner much attention beyond rabid devotees to the sport.

On the other hand, snowboarding differs from skiing and ice skating in that it has a huge youth appeal. Given that much of the worldwide media is overwhelmingly youth-driven, this means that a well-run World Snowboarding Championships could break out in a way that those older sports never seem to do. And after the breakout year that 2010 has been so far, snowboarders around the world are optimistic.

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