By: Alexandra Nychka
Lately there’s been some debate brewing about whether or not women should get their own courses for slopestyle events. Two talented ladies who seem to rock almost every course they get their paws on have both written compelling arguments on either side of the issue. Check out Kaya Turski on why we should have women-specific courses and Spencer O’Brian on why we shouldn’t. Alternatively, just read the breakdown of the main arguments here:
PROS of having separate courses
-since women and men are built differently, biologically speaking, they accomplish different levels of tricks.
-with two separate courses Turski argues that there would be fewer injuries (due to women competing on jumps more tailored to their level). This is definitely a concern, as she states also that in almost any given year 1/3 at least of the women who would be competing are out due to injury.
-viewers would also get to see cooler tricks (albeit on smaller jumps). With the girls jumping off more manageable kickers, they’d be able to show off more technical tricks rather that just 3s on big jumps.
-however, it’s super key to keep in mind that in no way is she suggesting(or most of the others advocating for smaller jumps for women) that women aren’t capable physically. Despite the high injury rate in the sport, girls have shown they can kick it on the boys’ jumps. A better way to think about it might revolve around the idea that women’s freeskiing is just a few years behind men’s—we’ll get there, but not if we bite off more than we can chew too soon in the game.
CONS of having separate courses
–money. In pro sports, women just make less than men sometimes, and those numbers differ even more drastically with the amount of separation of the guys and girls’ events. O’Brian’s piece cites the numbers from golf and surfing to demonstrate that this is a real occurrence that would likely follow suit in freeskiing.
–coverage, coverage, coverage. Guys events get watched more. Period. Girls’ events benefit drastically from being as closely tied to guys events as possible because that increases the likelihood of viewership.
-O’Brian’s last point is that many of the issues female competitors are complaining about affect the men equally, particularly things like weather and jump construction. A jump should be made to be safely hittable regardless of the weather conditions, no matter who’s hitting it.
So what do you think? Would separate courses for men and women benefit the development of women’s freeskiing?