Sport Curiosities



Snowboarding was developed in the United States in the 1960s as people across the country began to seek out new winter activities. Over the next decade, various pioneers have boosted the production of boards, and the sport began to gain crossover appeal. Surfers and skateboarders became involved, and by 1980, snowboarding was a nationwide activity.


In the late 1970s, snowboarders started to “invade” traditional ski resorts. However, they faced opposition from skiers who tried to exclude snowboarders from “their” mountains. By the 1990s, however, almost all ski resorts had accepted snowboarding, as the resorts have found the snowboarders to be an excellent source of new revenue.


Competitions were the next logical step. The United States held its first national championships in 1982 and hosted the first World Championships in 1983. The International Snowboarding Federation (ISF) was formed seven years later. The International Ski Federation (FIS) introduced snowboarding as a FIS discipline in 1994. This helped pave the way for snowboarding’s inclusion in the Olympic Winter Games.


Men’s and women’s snowboarding made their Olympic debuts at the Olympic Games Nagano 1998 with giant slalom and halfpipe competitions. The discipline proved an instant success and returned to Salt Lake City four years later with parallel giant slalom and halfpipe competitions. In Turin, the snowboard cross also made its debut. Four riders race across a course studded with jumps, bumps, and huge turns in this event.


There are 11 medal events in snowboarding. In the Halfpipe, competitors perform a series of tricks as they ski down a semi-cylinder-shaped slope. In the Parallel Giant Slalom, two snowboarders ski side by side down two parallel tracks. During the qualification, each competitor descends the two tracks (blue and red) once. The two timings are added together, and the 16 best cumulative timings advance to the knockout round and the final. In Snowboard Cross, after timed qualification, four athletes per set descend simultaneously on a course full of jumps, bumps, and wide turns: Italian Michela Moioli, the absolute star of the speciality, won the gold medal in PyeongChang 2018. In Big Air, competitors use an inclined platform to perform long jumps and a series of aerial stunts. In Slopestyle, athletes ski down a course that includes various obstructions while being judged on their stunts' breadth, originality, and quality.