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When the boarders joined FIS

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On 24 January 1996 the first FIS World Snowboard Championships kicked off in Lienz, Austria. So began a new chapter for the International Ski Federation; one that would expand its horizons, enlarge its repertoire and, eventually, change its name.

That day saw the crowning of the first halfpipe champion: Ross Powers of Vermont, USA. Aged just 16 he became the youngest-ever FIS World Champion, half the age of some others who climbed the podium such as Women's halfpipe champion Carolien van Kilsdonk, of the Netherlands.

From that illustrious start for Powers, things only got better.                                                                                                                               

At the 1998 Olympic Winter Games he finished second. Four years later he won gold on an all-American podium, the first time Team USA had swept the medals since the men's figure skating in 1956. His fame even saw him featured in the 2001 video game ‘Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder’.

Powers, like many other snowboarders, enjoyed a brighter spotlight because of the adoption of the sport by FIS, which championed the discipline and helped bring it to a massive global audience. In return, snowboarding changed not just the soul of FIS but its name, too, which from 2022 has proudly been ‘The International Ski and Snowboard Federation’.