Rev Tour Launches with Improved Athlete Pipeline
The 2018-19 Toyota U.S. Revolution Tour kicked off at Copper Mountain, Colorado Dec. 10, but things have changed since last season. A core focus of U.S. Ski & Snowboard has always been the athlete development pipeline for all disciplines. Through U.S. Ski & Snowboard events, programs and partnerships with organizations like the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA), the opportunities for young freeski and snowboard athletes have dramatically increased over the years. Recently, U.S. Ski & Snowboard made an important decision to improve the pipeline once again by dividing the Revolution Tour into two different levels, a FIS sanctioned Rev Tour, and a FIS NorAm Sanctioned Rev Tour Elite.
“As the Revolution Tour has grown in popularity over the last several years we recognized a demand to split the tour in order to provide appropriate competitive opportunities for athletes looking to progress through the development pipeline,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Halfpipe, Slopestyle, and Big Air Sport Development Manager Ashley Deibold. “With this new split in the Revolution Tour, the development pipeline for athletes starts with regional USASA events, moving to the Revolution Tour, then the Revolution Tour Elite, from which athletes can qualify into World Cups and other Major competitions.”
The change was a result of an ongoing conversation between the community as whole including U.S. Ski and Snowboard Congress, coaches, event officials, industry constituents as well internally by the U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletics and events departments. The division of the Revolution Tour was a result of the breadth of talent that was competing at the Revolution Tour throughout the years. The goal was to create a step between the Rev Tour and Toyota U.S. Grand Prix events at the World Cup level.
“Young athletes were getting to the Rev Tour and getting stuck there for four, five and even six years,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Event Manager Sarah Welliver. “We are now creating more stepping stones and ongoing opportunity for athletes.”
U.S. Ski and Snowboard set forth an initiative and received funding to add another Rev Tour series. U.S. Ski & Snowboard was the driver but leans on their partnership with USASA with the goal of developing athletes. Athletes can participate in a USASA competition days before the Rev Tour event to qualify on the same course the Rev will be held on. This provides more opportunity as an in-season qualifier and will ensure the best athletes enter the Rev Tour event. Rev Tour qualifiers are open to the Breaker, Youth, Junior and Open class for both freeski and snowboard. At age 12 you can compete in the qualifier but are ineligible to compete in the Rev Tour due to the minimum FIS age is 13 (this is an age change for freeski bringing the minimum age down from 14 to 13).
As previously mentioned, there are clear stepping stones from USASA Rev Tour qualifiers through the Rev Tour Elite and to the Grand Prix. .The Rev tour looks at overall Rev Tour standings. Therefore, if an athlete performs well at Rev Tour, they get invited back. In addition, the FIS level Rev Tour takes top performers from the USASA Nationals Junior, Youth, and Breaker division. These events are designed for athletes looking to take the next step after USASA. They will assist athletes as they continue to push their skills, learn to compete on a national scale, and within a slightly different format. This process will make for a better transition from regionally-based to nationally-based events for upcoming athletes.
The Revolution Tour Elite events are sanctioned as NorAm events, making them part of a larger North American tour, which includes events in Canada. As the next step in the pipeline, these events will feature larger slope courses and 22-foot halfpipes. Athletes attending these events will be competing to secure start positions for the 2019/2020 FIS World Cup and Grand Prix events.
The goal is to provide a competitive development pipeline that encourages participation, creates opportunity, and helps athletes progress in a less intimidating, but competitive and fun environment. Organizers invite the top tier athletes from the FIS Rev Tour standings, the NorAm Cup standings, and the Open division at USASA Nationals. Lastly, the Rev Tour Elite also invites the winner at each FIS level event in season. From the Rev Tour Elite, the overall tour winners for men and women are invited to participate in the U.S. Grand Prix the following season.
This year there will be two FIS-level events. These are events are called the Rev Tour and held in conjunction with USASA Rev Tour qualifiers. Moving forward, the qualifier events will be held prior to the Rev Tour event and will qualify athletes directly into the Rev Tour event taking place the following weekend. This adds more competition opportunities for athletes as well as creates an added convenience for families traveling with young athletes.
The first FIS-level event will be the Toyota U.S. Revolution Tour at Copper Mountain, Colorado Feb.10-14, and will consist of a freeski and snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe competition. The second event will be at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, Feb 25-Mar. 1 and will also serve as a freeski and snowboard slopestyle and halfpipe competition.
The upcoming NorAM Revolution Tour Elite competition will continue with the second event of the Elite series at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, Jan. 13-18 with two slopestyle competitions for both freeski and snowboard. The third and final Rev Tour Elite event will be held at Mammoth Mountain, California, Mar.12-17 with a snowboard and freeski slopestyle, halfpipe and big air competition.
The first Rev Tour Elite event of the season at Copper Mountain, Colorado hosted two halfpipe competitions for both freeski and snowboard. An incredibly diverse international field kicked things off in the same superpipe that the world’s best skiers and riders were competing in only a week prior at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix FIS World Cup. Athlete’s arriving early have the chance to witness the World Cup level competition and then follow it up a week later with their own competition in the same venue.
U.S. Snowboard Pro Team member Chase Blackwell (Longmont, Colo.) kicked things off with a third-place finish in the first of two competitions. Following suit was U.S. Snowboard Rookie Team member Tessa Maud (Carlsbad, Calif.) with a second-place finish in the final competition for the women. On the freeski side, it was America’s Cassidy Jarrell (Aspen, Colo.) and Cameron Brodrick (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) claiming first and third respectively in the first competition. Also, Jeanee Crane-Mauzy (Park City, Utah) earned second for the women. Moving into the final competition for freeskiers, it was U.S. Freeski Rookie Team member Dylan Ladd (Lakewood, Colo.) finishing third as well as teammate and fellow rookie team member Svea Irving (Winter Park, Colo.) earning second for the women.
Designed to serve as a stepping stone for athletes to make the transition from competing at a grassroots level to the elite level, the Rev Tour has already proven to be a progressive venue for today’s top junior skiers and riders to take the competitive stage in multiple disciplines. The 2018-19 Rev Tour series will continue to be another step in the right direction for the freeski snowboard athlete pipeline.
Tuesday, Dec. 11
1. Yuto Totsuka (Japan)
2. IkkoAnnai (Japan)
3. Chase Blackwell (Longmont, Colo.; U.S Pro Snowboard Team Member; USASA Rocky Mountain Series)
1. Kurumi, Imai (Japan)
2. Hikaru Oe (Japan)
3. Elizabeth Hosking (Canada)
Wednesday, Dec. 12
1. Yuto, Totsuka (Japan)
2. Jan Scherrer (Switzerland)
3. Ikko Anai (Japan)
1. Hikaru Oe (Japan)
2. Tessa Maud (Carlsbad, Calif.; U.S. Snowboard Rookie Team; USASA The Unbound Series)
3. Kurumi Imai (Japan)
Friday, Dec. 14.
1. Cassidy Jarrell (Aspen, Colo.; USASA Aspen Snowmass Series)
2. Evan Marineau (Canada)
3. Cameron Brodrick (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.; USASA The Unbound Series)
1. Zoe Atkin (Great Britain)
2. Jeanee Crane-Mauzy (Park City, Utah; USASA Big Mountain West Series)
3. Yujin Jang (Korea)
Saturday, Dec. 15.
1. Sam Mckeown (Canada)
2. Sascha Pedenko (Canada)
3. Dylan Ladd (Lakewood, Colo.; U.S. Freeski Rookie Team; USASA Rocky Mountain Series)
1. Zoe Atkin (Great Britain)
2. Svea Irving (Winter Park, Colo.; U.S. Freeski Rookie Team; USASA Rocky Mountain Series)
3. Yujin Jang (Korea)