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 winter action sports season long tour featuring the best freeskiing and snowboarding athletes in the world. This is only the second season that women are competing on the World Cup big air tour.
Big Air at Fenway is sanctioned as an International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup for both freeskiing and snowboarding and will be a platinum level event on the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) tour and an international level event on the World Snowboard Tour (WST).
20 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.
The U.S. Grand Prix has partnered with Snow Park Technologies (SPT), leaders in terrain park design and building, to create the14-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.
Freeskiing and snowboarding superstars from around the world will descend upon Fenway for this marquee event, including freeskiing Olympic and X Games medalists Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy, Nick Goepper and Devin Logan, and snowboarding World Cup winners Ty Walker and Eric Willet.
As with each stop on the U.S. Grand Prix tour, the Big Air at Fenway will be broadcast live Feb. 11-12 on NBCSN, plus live streaming on the NBC Sports Live Extra platform, as well as coverage on NBC next day, Saturday, Feb. 13. As a FIS World Cup, the event will be seen by tens of millions worldwide through global broadcast distribution.
History of Big Air
A predecessor to the new Olympic event of slopestyle, big air events have been around since the mid-90s and have continued to play an important role in the progression of both freeskiing and snowboarding. The one jump set up and “best of” formats give riders an opportunity to focus on landing one technical trick and lend themselves to more progressive tricks.
1994 Air+Style hosts the first stadium big air event in Innsbruck, Austria
1996 The US Open hosts its first big air event in Stratton, VT
1997 X Games adds big air to the roster of events
1999 U.S. Grand Prix hosts first big air as part of the Paul Mitchell Progression Session.
2001 Big air is added to the FIS World Cup calendar as an official discipline (men only)..
2005 Swede Jon Olsson launches the first big air event in Sweden, the Jon Olsson Invitational
2006 X Games hosts first freeskiing big air event in Aspen, CO
2011 USSA hosts stadium big air in downtown Denver as part of U.S. Grand Prix
2014 Big air was proposed by USA and other nations as a potential Olympic event during the 2014 FIS Congress.
2014 Women’s big air is added to FIS World Cup roster, with U.S. Snowboarding’s Ty Walker wining first women’s big air event in Istanbul.
2015 Snowboarding big air is officially added to the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic schedule.
2016 Boston’s iconic Fenway Park to host first U.S. Grand Prix big air stadium event.