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Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Updated: June 10, 7:47 PM ET
World Snowboarding Championships?

The Billabong Ante Up is coming to Whistler's Camp of Champions.

There's been a lot of news coming from Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour headquarters as of late. Did you see the new trophy they unveiled? If not, check out this video about the art contest that decided that little dude's stee. Also new for TTR this summer is The Billabong Ante Up big air, which is slated for June 26-30 at Camp of Champions in Whistler.

It's only a one-day event, but four "weather-days" are scheduled, as the weather in Whistler is predictably unpredictable. It's the first 5-star event of the season, there's $50,000 on the line and the winner gets an invite to the Billabong Innsbruck Air and Style, so you can expect the heavies to be on hand.

And the biggest news out of Innsbruck, Austria (TTR's hometown) are plans for a new TTR contest. Ready for your daily dose of acronym soup? After their recent General Assembly meeting in Barcelona, TTR and the World Snowboard Federation (WSF) announced plans to hold a new event called the World Snowboarding Championships (WSC).

Word is that the WSC will be held every four years, like, say, the Olympics. But unlike the big O, this event will boast both halfpipe and slopestyle competitions. Think this'll be a game changer? Let's not forget that one of the founding members of TTR is Terje Haakonsen, who has beef with the IOC. Remember the boycott? (Side note: Interestingly enough the FIS is actually meeting right now to discuss including slopestyle in the next Olympics.)

Oslo, Norway already signed on as host city for the first event in the winter of 2011/12 and the municipality committed to investing more than $5 million dollars for "the event and preparations." At this point organizers are still waiting on the final green light from Norway's Ministry of Environment, which is considering the expansion plans for Tryvann Vinterpark.

Wondering if snowboarding really needs another event? We were and decided to take our questions to TTR's media-liaison Matt Johnson. What will this event bring to snowboarding?
Matt Johnson: The overall objective of the World Snowboarding Championships is to provide a legit global platform in which riders will compete for world titles in slopetyle and halfpipe formats. The World Championships will bring together the best riders in the world to compete for the most prestigious award in the snowboarding community. This event is a chance for the snowboard industry, the riders and the TTR to come together to stage an event that truly represents what snowboarding is all about. Additionally, the event will bring a new and different global spotlight to the sport and to the riders, building greater awareness for the sport and the riders, while helping drive and showcase the progression of the sport.

The TTR/WSF is aiming to hold a world championship event run by people who truly understand the sport of snowboarding.

Why will the WSC only occur every four years? Will the WSC hope to rival the Olympics?
The World Snowboarding Championships will be held every four years due to scheduling with the Olympics and due to the logistics that will go into making the event happen. By scheduling the World Snowboarding Championships to happen two years after each Winter Olympic Games it will allow for these high profile global events to coexist and provide riders with the opportunity to focus on their many goals. Having the World Snowboarding Championships every four years also works well from a logistics standpoint since the event will take place in a different city around the world.

How'd Oslo come on as the first host city?
The first World Snowboarding Championships application was submitted by a consortium comprised of the Norwegian Snowboard Federation, the Arctic Challenge organizers and Tryvann resort. Norway is an excellent inaugural host nation due to the country's strong ties to winter sports, its existing winter sport infrastructure and the fact that it has embraced the young sport of snowboarding.

What's all that money Oslo's investing going toward?
The Oslo Municipality has committed $4.3 million (USD) as a financial guarantee to ensure the event takes place as well as a $1.3 million cash contribution to the local organizer (a limited company owned by The Arctic Challenge, Tryvann and the Norwegian Snowboard Federation). However, the final decision whether the event will take place is pending approval by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment for the expansion plans of the event arena at Tryvann Vinterpark.

What are the plans for Tryvann Park?
The Municipality of Oslo will also contribute $5 million to the Tryvann Vinterpark arena expansion plans and the private owners of the Tryvann Vinterpark are planning to invest over $15 million. These arena investments are for the expansion of a permanent arena for use by all winter sports and will be tailor-made for world-class events such as The Arctic Challenge, the planned World Snowboarding Championships as well as local events. The hope is to create a large arena that is in close proximity to an urban area that will draw large crowds to winter sports events.

The many TTR and WSF brains behind the WSC.

TTR's already known for doling out prize money, are we going to see even bigger purses for the WSC? Any ideas just how much might be offered?
The prize purse for the event is still being worked out, but the aim is to set a purse worth $1 million dollars that will be spread amongst men's and women's halfpipe and slopestyle formats.

Does snowboarding really need another event?
Yes. The event schedule in the winter season is packed full of competitions, but we at TTR/WSF don't see this as just another snowboard contest. The World Snowboarding Championships is an event that will provide the competitive freestyle snowboard world with a legit platform to crown world champions in two separate disciplines -- halfpipe and slopestyle. The TTR/WSF is aiming to hold a world championship event run by people who truly understand the sport of snowboarding to provide the riders with the best possible way to recognize the best competitive riders in the world. This will also result in creating an environment that will encourage and reward rider progression. Moreover, by creating another high-level event that takes place in the off-Olympic years, the TTR/WSF will maintain and grow the awareness of snowboarding on a global level on a more consistent basis, rather than every four years, as is currently happening.