|   Stan Leveille

In this era of high-production rail jam prevalence in snowboarding , A curious whisper has been making its rounds: could streetstyle snowboarding be eyeing an Olympic berth? Some riders, tongues perhaps firmly in cheeks, have probed me about this Olympic-sized rumor. My knee-jerk reaction was a noncommittal shrug, "Who knows?" But then, struck by the realization that my own instagram bio says “ snowboard Journalist? I realized this was the perfect opportunity for some good old-fashioned journalism.

After embarking on a thrilling journey that included several phone calls and a brief dive into the Olympic integration of skateboarding's street style – armed with my growing knowledge of the current Olympic Snowboarding point system – I've come to a conclusion. In a scenario that's either a dream or a nightmare, (depending on where you stand on the snowboarding spectrum) street snowboarding seems to be at least two Olympic cycles away from even being considered, and it would require A LOT of work, and a body of people that really wanted it to happen.

Jill Perkins for USA? PHOTO: BLOTTO

The crux of the matter lies in the lack of a cohesive "tour" – think skateboarding's SLS or the FIS-sanctioned World Cup events for slopestyle and halfpipe. These are the gold-standard events that could, in theory, rack up points for Olympic hopefuls.

Potential contenders for this imagined points stage moving forward, events like X Games Street, DIYX Extreme, Red Bull Heavy Metal, Rock-A-Rail, and Dew Tour don’t actually offer a clear path towards olympic qualifying due to their lack of connection to the F.I.S. 

Pete Croasdale, Egan Wint, Jaylen Hanson, Austin Vizz at Section 1 of Red Bull Heavy Metal

I needed some clarification during my research on whether X Games, a major event, awards Olympic points despite not being governed by the FIS. What I discovered is that X Games do not offer riders points. However, there is a strategic aspect to consider. U.S. team coaches, for instance, might eye X Games podiums when assembling their final team in the year leading into the olympics. Yet, for X Games to truly be a stepping stone to Olympic glory, it would need to expand beyond its cozy, invitation-only bubble and offer a qualifier.

Thus, for street style snowboarding to carve its path to the Olympics, a dedicated tour under the watchful eye of FIS seems inevitable. Given FIS's recent annexation of the Freeride World Tour, freeriding might just be next in line for Olympic inclusion.

Zeb Powell With a medal? PHOTO: BLOTTO

So, my final answer, will street snowboarding enter the olympics? It seems unlikely that it would happen any time soon. And if it were, things would inevitably get bureaucratic.  The chances of FIS not having its fingers in the pie seem slimmer than my chances of making the US team. And all of these events would have to cease to be invite only, and offer a qualifying portion.  And for those harboring Olympic ambitions for street style snowboarding, consider this a plea from the heart of Slush Magazine: maybe, just maybe, let's not rush to hand it over to the bureaucratic embrace of FIS. After all, the spirit of street snowboarding thrives in the wild – far from the polished edges of Olympic rings.