Drew and Terje in Davos - courtesy TTRAt BrOADER we are really stocked again – big time! A couple of weeks ago, we received a mail from Arnaud, the PR coordinator of the TTR who told us he liked our stuff here on www.snowbroader.eu and just offered to help us out if we needed anything…So we jumped on the opportunity and asked Arnaud if he could fix a BrOADER[view] with the man, Drew Stevenson, CEO of the TTR.
“No worries!” It happened and here it is. So Arnaud, thanks a lot!

Being addicted to snowboarding since the early 90’s, and reading Onboard mag since the first issue, we have a feeling that Drew influenced our approach to snowboarding in many ways. Today having the chance to get the opinion on how snowboarding has evolved by a man who is partly responsible for it, is an honor for us. Drew is all about snowboarding! Read his words and you might get goose bumps because of all the passion and positive vibes which are expressed! Live to ride!

Hi Drew! For the few people who might not know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up on a farm in Western Australia where my old man had about 5,500 sheep. I hate sheep. Possibly the dumbest animals in the World. Or at least really dumb when you have to move 5 or 6 hundred of them at a time. Decided to go see the world when I was 17 and ran into snow for the very first time. That was about it… It took a couple more years, but started snowboarding in Colorado and have been doing it ever since all over the world.

 

Why and how did you get involved in the snowboard industry?

 

Actually, I wanted to be a Pro, but one thing held me back. I was rubbish! Or at least, compared to all the Pro’s of the time. Looking at the Pro’s of today… I am really rubbish! Somehow, really by complete accident while working in London, a friend who I used to ride Dry Slope (plastic slopes) called me about a job on this magazine about to complete it’s first issue called Onboard and asked if I wanted a job as a Deputy Editor. Never having worked in a magazine before I asked what I had to do. He said, “Go on snowboard trips, then come back and write about them.” Sounded pretty good! I went to Saas Fee for two weeks on the fourth day of the starting. When I got back to London, the Editor had quit and I was now the editor… That was it really.

 

Drew and his TTR car - courtesy TTR

 

You are one of the master minds behind the TTR. Can we travel back in time and can you tell us what happened exactly during the 2002 ISPO when riders, brands, events and dedicated people decided to create the TTR?

 

One of the many masterminds. The snowboard industry was having a horrible vibe around it. At least in terms of the ISF going bankrupt, a bad snow season, poor sales, heaps of pro’s (or a lot of my friends) were losing sponsors – just really, really flat feeling all round. A friend and work mate from my Onboard days, Garry Maidment, and I decided something had to be done and called a meeting. A tight crew of Industry heads, event organizers and riders we invited turned up. Believe me, Garry and I didn’t so much as have a plan – more a question. Sitting in this room was sort of intimidating, but we asked a really simple question: “Hey everyone. Look around this room. Something needs to be done for snowboarding, and if we ain’t gonna do it who the hell is going to?” And they did. If it is ok, I’d like to thank all the event’s, brands, and most of all – Haakon and the riders – who are the TTR.

 

The TTR has evolved a lot since then. Last season, you decided to change the concept and dropped the Tickets for a ranking system. Why was it vital to have the TTR evolve in that direction?

 

The ‘Ticket’ times were really fantastic. Once every couple of weeks I had the honor of putting an Wrought Iron Medallion around the winner who had just earnt his right to Terje’s event, The Arctic Challenge! I think this was the smartest thing we ever did. It brought a ethos back to the sport, a purity of sorts. The most amazing response was from the riders and snowboard mag’s who gave (and made) the whole thing explode! As the Tour grew, we added another level. TTR Pro Events and TTR QE (Qualifying Events). Momentum was starting to pick up, it was sort of crazy – almost too much. At the end more and more amazing events wanted to join, more sick riders were coming, going off, having fun and loving it. The ticket system provided basically a single ‘Ticket-to-Ride’… So you could come 2nd at four consecutive events and, technically, still not have earned a ticket! Also, how do kids understand how to get involved, to progress and be part of it? Now, anybody who does a Pro 6 Star event through to a local rookie 1 Star event is on the same ranking system as their hero’s. After 3 years, it was good timing, and mainstream media loved it.

 

Can you explain us briefly how the ranking system works and when the TTR World champ will be announced this season?

 

The TTR World Snowboard Tour works like this:

 

Star Tiering System

Each event is accredited at a certain ‘Star Tier’ based on a range of different qualities including riding infrastructure, rider hospitality, progression, kudos and rider respect, prize money, TV and Media output, safety and organization to name a few.

 

Required Results

We ask riders to post 6 results over the season. The season starts in July at Mt Hood, heads to Australia and New Zealand over August/September before coming back to the Northern Hemisphere. It ends at the last event in the Northern Hemisphere, usually April or May.

 

A Result

A ‘Result’ is determined in advance by the event when it applies for accreditation. Generally, it is determined as “an independently judged format within a contest structure.” However, some events employ a ‘combined format’ result to determine TTR Ranking Points. Ie: the Burton Open series (Australian (SS/HP), New Zealand (SS/HP), European (SS/HP), Nippon (SS/HP) and US Open (SS/HP), O’Neill Evolution (HP/QP) and Pro Freestyle (SS/QP) have two ‘Results’ possible at their event. The Nissan X-Trail Jam, Rip Curl Champs Open (BA/Rail line/QP) combine the results of their different formats to determine 1 TTR Ranking Result.

 

A TTR Points Earning Format

Formats that can earn a (non Combined) TTR Result:

– Slopestyle

– Stadium Slopestyle

– Halfpipe

– Quarterpipe

– Big Air

Placing 1st at at any given Star Tier in any give TTR Format will earn the TTR Ranking Points towards a riders TTR Ranking Score.

 

TTR Ranking Points vs. TTR Ranking Score

TTR Ranking points are the points a certain place at a certain Star Tier event. You earn these points towards your TTR Ranking Score each time you post a result.

The TTR Ranking Score is the average score of your top 6 results and is how riders position on the Tour is decided. You still get a Ranking score even if you have posted less than 6 results. It works like this:

Total Result 1 divided by 6 = Ranking Score
Total Result 1+2 divided by 6 = Ranking Score
Total Result 1+2+3 divided by 6 = Ranking Score
Total Result 1+2+3+4 divided by 6 = Ranking Score
Total Result 1+2+3+4+5 divided by 6 = Ranking Score
Total Result 1+2+3+4+5+6 divided by 6 = Ranking Score

At this point it is called “Maximizing your Points Earning Potential”.

But it doesn’t end here. After 6 results, say you post a 7th or 8th or 9th or even more… We drop your lowest scores, keep your highest 6 and divide by 6.

 

Points Loading

We have loaded the last TTR 6(SIX) STAR event, the US Open Championships of Snowboarding for the Men, and the last TTR 6(SIX) STAR event, The Roxy Chicken Jam for the Women with 25% more points. This makes it statistically 97% likely that the TTR TOUR CHAMPION will be crowned at these events. The TTR Tour will continue, where riders can post career stats and improve their position on the Tour, but it is likely that the Tour will be defined at these events respectively.

 

Markus Keller in the Leysin superpipe -Nescafé Champs 06 - by BrOADER

 

How do the riders feel about this system? From our point of view, it’s quite good because it gives a lot of liberty to riders to choose their events in order to fight for the title and still have time during the season for filming and so on… And for the rookies they have the opportunity to challenge the elite.

 

As snowboards ourselves, we respect the hectic schedule of Pro Snowboarders including their travel, filming, shooting, sponsor commitments, and the need to just ride for themselves and friends sometimes when the snow is fresh and deep. But the system is not only designed for them. It’s also designed for the rookie riders who may not have sponsors, travel budgets and survive on a diet of noodles! With only 6 results required in almost 10 months to maximize your Points Earning Potential, even most rookies can find enough contests close to them that they can post 6 results. It is also a system that combines formats and identifies riders, that when they step into a contest, are expected to win or podium – not riders who simply do the most contests. It allows riders to look at their requirements, their budget, the format, the Star Tier, to strategically plan their season to fit in what their time or money will allow.

The feed back has been really positive, and you only have to look at the current TTR Top 10 to see if it is working! I think the best is the Rookies are on the same Ranking system as the Pro’s. The TTR System provides a very clear and transparent Rookie to Pro development path.

 

Do you attend all the major contests during the season? Which events do you really appreciate? Not only for the riding, progression and organization but also for the atmosphere and parties?

 

I try to make it to all of the major events, and to as many of the minor events as schedule will allow. It makes it a fairly hectic season! And without trying to sound stupid, I actually like all of the events, from 3 to 6 STAR. Each event is owned, planned, organized by independent entities. Every single one is continually creating new and exciting riding structures, judging formats and contest formats – providing the most progressive and fun snowboard happening. Every event organizer treats their event as their very own baby! It is such a strong and positive movement, and it would simply not be fair to single any out for special mention!

 

Concerning the spectators, how do you feel they appreciate the shows? Do you thing snowboarding is still a bit like a closed world (I mean you have to be an insider, know the name of the tricks, the format of the contests) or in your opinion has it become more democratic now contest-wise?

 

No, it depends where the event is, what country, on if it is an on mountain or In City – but the general knowledge of snowboarding is getting better year by year. After 3 Olympics, even Grand Ma generally has an idea what a 360 is! Probably the biggest problem is that snowboarding is progressing so fast that it’s even hard for me to keep up with it!!!! Travis Rice and David Benedek – please either spin round and round or upside down, not both. I’m starting to get seasick!

 

The FIS snowboard world champs have started yesterday in Arosa, Switzerland. What do you thing about what FIS is doing for snowboarding? It seems to me that things have changed a lot since the ISF v/s FIS duel, it’s like we accept much more what FIS is doing because they also do promote freestyle snowboarding “positively” always offering perfect pipes for the riders to express themselves…what do you think? Did we bury the hatchet?

 

Actually, in terms of waving the hatchet…. That was really the ISF/FIS days. We do our thing and they do theirs without a great deal of interaction, negativity or politics – which is fantastic for everyone. The past saw two really negative things happen in the ISF/FIS days.

1. Riders got caught in the middle of a Federation Tug-o-War which is really sad. Riders should ride, they have nothing to do with politics!

2. This fight probably made snowboarding the most unattractive sporting property to major Outside brands, when really it was one of the most exciting. I don’t want this to sound like a sell out, but sponsorship means better and bigger events, more prize money and better media coverage.

 

Competition is not an evil word. We don’t want to waste energy on creating a political battle ground. That’s a waste of energy that could be better spent on trying to make what we do better.

 

In every BrOADER[view], it’s a tradition to ask our guest to give us his feeling/opinion about BrOADER. What do you think about our blog? Do we have a future? 😉

 

I don’t know! If I hadn’t spent so much time answering your questions I would have gone on to the site and checked it out! Do you have a future? Let me ask you a question that I asked a couple of friends a couple of years ago at summer ISPO 2002:

“Hey everyone. Look around this (blog) room. Something needs to be done for snowboarding, and if we ain’t gonna do it who the hell is going to?” We are snowboarding. For snowboarding and life, never let anybody tell you it can’t be done. With love of it, love for each other, love for life and love for each other… Anything and everything could happen! Spread the word. Ride as hard as you can. Spread the word. Celebrate being alive. That’s all I know….

 

Drew, we wish to thank you a lot for you time. Do you have a final shout out?

 

Thanks to Dave, and to snowboarding. A massive shout out to everyone I have ever met out there across the World as I have tried to pass the Great University called Life. You know who you are.

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