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Shaun White Launches Winter Sports Competition, The Snow League

Press release:
Three-time Olympic gold medal winning snowboarder and entrepreneur Shaun White is announcing the launch of the first ever professional winter sports league for snowboarding and freeskiing halfpipe competition, debuting with its first event in the U.S. in early 2025.

The Snow League is the future of winter sports competition, featuring a new elite level multievent global competition format for snowboarding and freeskiing. Launching its first season with five halfpipe events, starting March 2025 and ending winter of 2026 following the Winter Games in Milan, The Snow League has reimagined competitive formats for edge of your seat experiences broadcast worldwide from iconic winter resort destinations.

White says “After all my years competing in many different formats in the snowboarding space, I’ve come to realize that snowboarding and freeskiing athletes deserve a legit professional league. Beginning next year, The Snow League will give riders, freeskiers, and sports fans all over the world a destination for what I believe is the most exciting athletic competition in all of sports. Now is the moment to elevate the next generation of winter athletes who are pushing the limits of competition.”

The announcement was made today at Stagwell Sport Beach at the Cannes Lions Festival in France.

The iconic snowboarder says The Snow League hopes to discover new superstars, underdogs, and fierce rivalries in the world of snowboarding and freeskiing. Fans will be able to watch the world’s elite winter athletes battle during intense competition formats, with premium on-site & broadcast production.

The first season will feature men’s and women’s snowboard halfpipe competitions at all five events. The league plans to introduce freeskiing midway through the first season. Athletes will accumulate points based on their results from each event to be tallied together at the end of the season to crown a world champion.

The total prize purse for the first season will be at least $1.5 million, representing the richest prize purse in the sport.

White adds “I have so much gratitude for the rider culture that I was able to compete within. My next journey is to be a teammate, working with the best of the best to open a limitless new era for the next generation. The work it takes to compete at the highest level is something I respect.”

Sports fans will be fully immersed in premiere experiences with deeper technological integration, unprecedented access, and coverage that unlocks the strategy, tactics, and stories behind victory and defeat, and will be able to watch and wager at the edge of their seat as winter’s elite athletes battle to become world champion.

The Snow League’s proposed schedule minimizes Olympic conflicts and maximizes global visibility for the league. For the inaugural season, the first event will take place in the U.S., followed by four events around the world.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim says “Shaun White has been a major inspiration for me ever since I decided to pursue snowboarding. I’ve always admired him as a competitor above all. When he called to share the news, my initial reaction was disbelief—Shaun White is calling me?? But after listening to him share this with so much excitement, it quickly made sense; it’s just the kind of thing he would do. I’m thrilled about this league. It’ll be great to have competitions that focus more on the athletes, giving us more opportunities to shine and do what we do best: snowboard. I’m grateful to Shaun for giving back to the sport and his unwavering mission to uplift it.”

Serving as CEO of The Snow League is Omer Atesmen, serial entrepreneur who has successfully built and sold businesses in sports, technology and advertising. Atesmen worked with White previously developing educational sports content at The Skills, and is a former Stanford engineer, Kellogg MBA and management consultant at Boston Consulting Group. Ian Warda, former VP of Global Integrated Marketing at Burton, joins as COO. During his tenure at Burton, Warda successfully planned and executed the annual Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships and developed world class event and media properties around the world while also leading strategy for brand and athlete marketing. Sandy Macdonald, Olympic judge and competition director for countless world class competitions, joins as the league’s Head of Competition.

Sophie Goldschmidt, President and CEO of U.S. Ski and Snowboard, adds “The Snow League is shaping up to be an incredible stage for our athletes to compete at the highest level and is a welcome addition to events like the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix series within the competitive snowboard and freeski ecosystem. We want our athletes to have the opportunity to participate in more events, consistently be introduced to newer audiences, and have the chance to achieve success at the world’s best venues. U.S. Ski & Snowboard is excited for our athletes to compete in this new platform.”

The initial round of investors in the new league include Will Ventures, Ares Management funds, David Blitzer and Ryan Sports Ventures. The Snow League has engaged Range Sports to advise on its media rights and commercial partnerships strategy and execution.

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Will Ventures, Isaiah Kacyvenski, says “We’ve gotten to know Shaun and Omer over the last five years and are thrilled to partner with them on The Snow League. As investors, we’re convinced that the market is primed for a premium, global action sports league.”

Jim Miller, Co-Head of Ares’ Sports, Media and Entertainment Strategy and U.S. Direct Lending says “We are excited to support Shaun and Omer in this new endeavor and are confident that The Snow League will provide riders, freeskiers and sports fans all over the world with one-of-a-kind, thrilling experiences.”

How will athletes be chosen?
The Snow League’s snowboarding field will be made up of the top 20 men and 16 women in the world. Riders will be chosen using a modified ranking from the World Snowboard Points List. The WSPL is the definitive universal, transparent and fair ranking system for competitive snowboarding globally.

Competition and Season Format
The competition structure and format will be different than what has been seen before. Representing the first ever competitive platform where the world’s elite athletes can compete consistently throughout the year and season over season, the league will feature 5 halfpipe events in the first season with plans for additional events and disciplines in subsequent seasons.

A prize purse will be awarded at each event. Athletes will also earn points for their results, which will be cumulative at the end of the season where an additional prize purse will be distributed to the league’s top finishers.

The events will include a training day and two days of competition with innovative formats:

Day 1: Training day

Day 2: Qualifying day

  • 20 men and 16 women will be seeded into four qualifying heats, each with a best of two run format. The top qualifier from each heat will advance to championship day. The next two best scores from each heat will also earn a chance to compete for the last four championship spots in another heat using an additional best of two run format.

Day 3: Championship day

  • 8 men and 8 women move on to championship day which features a head-to-head bracket format, seeded from qualifying day with quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals rounds. A rider must win two of three runs to advance to the next round in the bracket.
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