“The Futures Tour” Expands Athlete Development Pipeline
U.S. Ski & Snowboard and USASA continue their fruitful relationship with major improvements to the event pipeline. USASA will now serve as the sole event entry point for both freeskiing and snowboarding events.
This vastly improves the clarity of the layout in the United States and makes it easier to access grassroots competitions through USASA’s 31 regional series and 500-event network. Highlighting this shift, USASA will also take on a new role in the running of "The Futures Tour" for the 2019-20 competition season.
The Futures Tour will consist of six regional FIS/USASA sanctioned slopestyle and halfpipe events across the nation that will offer an improved and expanded athlete development pipeline for young skiers and riders. The Futures Tour registration links will be available on Oct. 21 at usasa.org. To create synergy in the pipeline, the top three athletes from the 2019 USASA National Championships will hold secured positions in their respective disciplines. Regional athletes will enjoy a two-week priority registration period where they can sign up for events in their area. After the regional priority registration period closes registration will be available to athletes from all regions.
“We are looking forward to working with U.S. Ski & Snowboard to be able to provide this stepping stone to the Rev Tour,” said USASA Executive Director Mike Mallon. “These events will showcase some of our premier USASA Series and resort partners, and make it easier for young athletes to test the waters at FIS level competitions.”
These new events will take place across four of the five USASA regions. There will be two in the Rockies and New England and one each in the Western and Central. The increased availability of FIS sanctioned grassroots competition will result in reduced travel costs and decreased barriers to entry for young athletes looking to progress to the next level in their sport. The addition of The Futures Tour is by no means a complete re-working of the athlete development pipeline, but rather fine-tuning of a system that has been extremely successful to this point. U.S. Snowboard Pro Team member and Olympic bronze medalist Arielle Gold could not agree more.
“I think that one of the biggest contributions of USASA is to ensure that young athletes of the future have a platform to compete, and can see a pathway to becoming a professional snowboarder,” said Gold. “USASA provides the foundation necessary for kids to start competing on the tour, and continue progressing through the proverbial ladder in competitive snowboarding including the USASA Nationals, Revolution Tours, Grand Prix, World Cups, and finally the Olympics. I absolutely would not be where I am today without having competed in USASA.”
Entry-level athletes participating in FIS/USASA sanctioned Futures Tour events will have a clear pathway to the USASA Nationals and the FIS Nor-Am Rev Tour events. As an athlete moves from the Futures Tour to the Rev Tour anything is possible including invites to the U.S. Grand Prix World Cup events. At this point the door is wide open for private competition invitations from events like the X Games, Dew Tour, and the Burton U.S. Open of snowboarding. If history is any representation, this tier of competition also includes U.S. Olympic Team qualification events. The pathway to the top of the freeski and snowboard competition ladder is now as transparent as ever.
Together, U.S. Ski & Snowboard and USASA look forward to another great year of fun and fair competition as well as facilitating the competitive journey for all of snowboarding and freeskiing in the United States. See below for more information and stay tuned for more detailed information about The Futures Tour as well as the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Rev Tour Nor-Am events.