Boston, MA – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), along with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Fenway Sports Management (FSM), today announced that Red Sox baseball’s Fenway Park will host a big air snowboarding and freeskiing U.S. Grand Prix tour event on February 11-12, 2016. The Big Air at Fenway will feature a 140-foot snow ramp, more than three times the height of Fenway’s famed Green Monster. Athletes from around the world, including Olympic and World Champions, will compete for a grand prize purse of $150,000.
The Big Air at Fenway will be the third big air stop on the FIS Snowboard World Cup tour and the second stop on the U.S. Grand Prix tour. Now in its 20th season, the U.S. Grand Prix is the longest running, season-long winter action sports tour featuring the best freeskiing and snowboarding athletes in the world.
“Big Air at Fenway will be one of the largest events in the 20-year history of the U.S. Grand Prix,” said USSA Chief Marketing Officer Michael Jaquet. “It will draw some of the most talented athletes in big air, including a brilliant group of Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. It will be a great show for spectators at Fenway Park and watching at home.”
As a U.S. Grand Prix and part of the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) World Cup tour, Big Air at Fenway will bring in many of the top big air competitors including Olympic slopestyle skiing gold medalist Joss Christensen, slopestyle snowboarding Olympic champion Sage Kostenburg and Olympic snowboarder Ty Walker, who helped announce the event at Fenway Park. Twenty women and 40 men will be invited to compete based off of the world points lists. Each competitor will be given two qualifying runs to make finals. The top 10 men and six women will advance to finals, where they will each get three runs.
“I’ve never seen this much buzz about a snowboarding contest before,” said Kotsenburg. “With the Olympics coming up, it’s a great time for us to have an event like this in the U.S. It’s going to bring a rad audience, and to do it in Fenway Park is pretty unreal.”
In big air, snowboarders and skiers do a single trick off a ramp similar to those seen on slopestyle courses. The U.S. Grand Prix has partnered with Snow Park Technologies (SPT), leaders in terrain park design and building, to create the 140-foot high jump that both skiers and snowboarders will be competing on. Riders will have to clear a 70-foot gap from take off to landing
Men’s and women’s big air snowboarding will make its Olympic debut at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Men’s big air snowboarding has been part of the FIS World Championships since 2003. It was added to the World Cup tour for women a year ago, with Walker winning the opener at a city stadium event in Istanbul.
“Being from Vermont and having this event in Fenway, at a place that holds such tradition and sports culture on the East coast, is really special to me,” said Walker. “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to compete here and that my family and friends will be able to come watch.”
Big Air at Fenway will air live on NBCSN, with men’s and women’s snowboarding events on Thursday, February 11, and men’s and women’s freeskiing events on Friday, February 12, with next day best of big air highlights Saturday, February 13 on NBC. Tickets for the Big Air at Fenway will go on sale on November 12 at 12 p.m. For more details about Big Air at Fenway, including ticket information, visit redsox.com/bigair.
“We’re really hoping that this will be a great show and a good example of what people are in to,” said Christensen. “These kind of events are awesome. We’ve done a bunch of them in Europe and it’s really cool to have more of a show here in the U.S. so we can show our fans what we’re doing and they can see it live. We’re looking forward to it, and we hope Boston gets as much snow as they did last year.”