The North Face, an original partner of U.S. Freeskiing, is taking the next step in its dedication to freeskiing with a broadened focus on both elite and development direction in the sport through U.S. Freeskiing’s new Rookie Team. This partnership builds off the brand’s charter sponsorship of the U.S. Freeskiing Team, which began in 2011 just before halfpipe and slopestyle skiing were announced as new Olympic sports. The North Face is also pleased to add U.S. Freeskiing Pro Team athlete Maddie Bowman to its global team roster. Bowman, a two-time X Games medalist, recently took gold at the Winter X Games and first at the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix competitions at both Copper Mountain and Park City to earn the national title.
U.S. Freeskiing’s new Rookie Team provides support and training with expert coaches for teen athletes looking to advance their skills and competition level in both halfpipe and slopestyle skiing with the goal of eventually making the U.S. Freeskiing Pro Team. The support of The North Face has been instrumental to the growth of the new Olympic sport of freeskiing, including U.S. Freeskiing’s elite pro team and its new development-focused U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team, which both foster talent that will help the USAbe Best in the World in Olympic freeskiing leading up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and beyond. The 10-member U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team is coached by Ben Verge (halfpipe) and DJ Montigy (slopestyle).
“Since the beginning of the freeskiing movement, The North Face has maintained an ongoing commitment to helping elevate the sport to the global stage,” said Mike Jaquet, CMO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. “Starting before freeskiing was recognized as an Olympic sport, we’ve worked very closely with The North Face to identify unique opportunities to further the development of the sport at the grassroots level, both on the athlete side and through competition. It’s great to work with sponsors that are so committed to fostering the sport’s growth.”
Along with its support of U.S. Freeskiing’s Pro and Rookie Teams and individual athletes, the brand also continues to evolve its signature freeskiing tour. The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series (PPOS), which was founded in 2010 and is one of the few open-format series that offers amateurs and pros alike an arena for freeskiing competition. Working in conjunction with the International Ski Federation (FIS), USSA and the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP), the PPOS has become a grassroots pipeline for amateur athletes to elevate their skill level and to eventually qualify for top-tier events such as the X Games, Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix and the Olympic Games. This year, two U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team members, Alexander Ferreira of Aspen, Colo., and Annalisa Drew of Andover, Mass., earned top honors in the halfpipe competition at the second PPOS stop in Whistler, giving them automatic entries into the X Games – a first time opportunity for both up-and-coming athletes.
A one-hour broadcast of the Whistler PPOS event will air on Feb. 7 – the Sochi 2014 Winter Games year-out mark – on the CBS Sports Network.
“The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series has been a great opportunity for us to continue our commitment to growing the sport of freeskiing,” said Aaron Carpenter, vice president of marketing for The North Face. “In addition to our U.S. Freeskiing sponsorship and now our U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team partnership, we have close relationships with several athletes, who also play a key role in our research, design and development and enable us to create unique freeskiing apparel.”
Along with its new partnership with Bowman, The North Face also continues its relationship with top freeskiing athletes Tom Wallisch (US) and Devin Logan (US) as well as up-and-coming athletes Chris Laker (US) and Carson LeHouillier (US) on the amateur side. These athletes have been instrumental to The North Face in working to develop athlete-tested apparel while pushing the limits of the sport on the road to Sochi.
THE JOURNEY TO SOCHI
Since freeskiing is inspired out of Big Mountain skiing, The North Face has maintained an ongoing commitment to helping elevate the sport to the global stage and to supporting growth of freeskiing and its athletes.
From its support of the legendary Scot Schmidt to the company’s work with Kit DesLauries and her ascents and ski descents of the 7-Summits to Tom Wallisch’s X Games gold, The North Face has been at the forefront and progression of the sport. In 2003, The North Face began sponsoring what is now known as the Freeride World Tour and was a founding partner in 2011 when USSA announced the new U.S. Freeskiing brand and team. In 2013, The North Face was the founding presenting sponsor for the unified Freeride World Tour while continuing its signature tour, The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series.
For additional information about The North Face and its commitment to freeskiing, please visithttp://neverstopexploring.com/blog/freeskiing/.
Image courtesy The North Face