The countdown to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games is ON!

Feb 6th 2013

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The Olympics begin one year from today, and to celebrate, we’ve got some exciting news as the sport of freeskiing prepares to make its historic Olympic debut. The North Face, an original partner of U.S. Freeskiing, is taking the next step in its dedication to freeskiing by partnering in the creation of the first U.S. Freeskiing Rookie Team. Additionally, we are thrilled to welcome elite freeskiier Maddie Bowman to The North Face family. The North Face has been a friend of freeskiing ever since it was inspired out of Big Mountain skiing, and we’re excited to continue our long-time support of the sport and its incredible athletes.

“Since the beginning of the freeskiing movement, The North Face has maintained an on-going commitment to helping elevate the sport to the global stage,” said Mike Jaquet, CMO of the United States 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.”

Maddie Bowman at the 2013 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Copper Mountain (photo: Sarah Brunson) 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 rookie team, which both foster talent that will help the USA be 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). Maddie Bowman, who comes to The North Face as a two-time X Games medalist and recently took gold in both the X Games and U.S. Grand Prix last month, will be in good company with us. She joins top freeskiing athletes Tom Wallisch and Devin Logan, as well as up-and-coming athletes Chris Laker and Carson LeHouillier on the amateur side, as TNF-sponsored freeskiing athletes.

Also, we are proud to continue evolving The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series (PPOS), which was founded in 2010. PPOS is one of the few open-format series in which both amateurs and pros have an opportunity to compete in the freeskiing arena. Since its inception, it has grown into a grassroots pipeline for amateur athletes to hone their skills and eventually qualify for top-tier events like the X Games, U.S. Grand Prix and the Olympics. This year, two 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! Be sure to check out a one-hour broadcast of the Whistler PPOS event February 7 on CBS Sports Network. We couldn’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate the Sochi 2014 Winter Games year-out mark. It’s going to be an incredible year ahead, and we hope you will join us for the journey to Sochi! Remember: Never stop exploring.