America hosts the main snowboarding competitions, with the ones in Europe being much smaller by comparison and many are only in their first few years of taking place.
During the Winter Olympics snowboarding has six main heats; men’s Half-Pipe, women’s Half-Pipe, men’s Parallel Giant Slalom, women’s Parallel Giant Slalom, men’s Boardercross and women’s Boardercross.
Winter X Games
The X Games are events held in America, with the Winter X Games focusing on winter sports. The categories include Slopestyle, which is not included in the Winter Olympics, Boardercross, SuperPipe, as well as the favourite, Best Trick. The Games are always held in Aspen, Colorado, and are the most popular national competitions in America.
Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix
This is the largest snowboarding event in America. It runs over two months and is the competition in which all pro snowboarders want to be in. Competitions include Half-Pipe, Slopestyle, and Boardercross.
European events are not of the same capacity as American events, but there are more and more springing up at resorts across the European mountain ranges.
Red Bull Tribal Quest, Switzerland
This event takes place in Nendaz, and incorporates both Skiing and snowboarding into the competitions. With acres of open mountain terrain, freeriding is popular here. This competition differs slightly from others in that a photography event is run alongside it, attracting sports photographers as well as riders.
Red Bull Nanshan Open, China
Although 2007 was only the 5th annual open, this event in China attracted boarders from across the globe. The event focuses on freestyle riding, and the Half-Pipe in particularly is especially popular.
This event starts the season in Europe. It is sponsored by Quiksilver and usually held at a ski resort in the Pyrenees. This week long event is held in honour of Mathieu Crépel, who was the first ever World snowboard champion. Professional snowboarders are invited by Crépel to attend the event, and numerous competitions which focus mainly around free ride are held. The competition is also famous for the amount of parties which are held throughout the week.
AIM Orange Series
This is the main national ski and snowboarding series that is held in the United Kingdom on artificial slopes, otherwise know as the Brits. Although they are the British Snowboard and Ski Championships they are not held in the UK, but rather in various resorts throughout Europe to provide better quality of terrain. Qualifiers for the event take place throughout the country before the event, and give everyone the opportunity to take part. Top British snowboarders get automatic entry into the competitions. This week long series also includes lessons for beginners, as well as top brands selling their gear and parties held throughout the week to give more of a festival vibe. These championships are the highest ranking freestyle competition in the UK.
Snowboarding competitions vary from skiing ones in that they do not just focus on speed but include many heats where freestyle boarding is required. In some competitions boarders usually have to compete in all of the heats, whereas in others, e.g. the world cup, the rider can specialise in the category in which they are best.
- One of the most popular events is the half-pipe round. A half-pipe is a U-like shape which is cut into the snow, and is used for boarders to ride back and forth on inside it. Tricks and jumps are often performed, and how much air each jump gets or the turn which is involved with it determines the score which is given.
- The boardercross competition is when four to six snowboarders ride down a slop which is full of jumps and banked turns which they have to overcome. The fastest one to the bottom wins the heat.
- Slopestyle is a competition which involves one rider being sent through a series of tricks and jumps. They have to display their ability with each of these, and how well they perform is represented in their score.
- Parallel Giant Slalom is the heat which is closest to a skiing competition. There are two runs and one rider is sent down each one at a time, and then they have to swap and do the alternate one. The rider who has the best combined time is the winner and goes through to the next heat.