Slopestyle Snowboarding: A Comprehensive Guide for Riders

Slopestyle snowboarding is a thrilling and visually captivating discipline that has taken the snow sports world by storm. It’s a sport that combines elements of freestyle snowboarding with creative, gravity-defying tricks on a terrain park filled with jumps, rails, and other features. In this article from UNUO.pro, we’ll delve into the world of slopestyle snowboarding, from the basics to the intricacies of the sport. Whether you’re a beginner looking to dip your toes into the world of slopestyle or a seasoned rider aiming to perfect your skills, this guide has something for everyone.

Summary

What is Slopestyle Snowboarding?

Slopestyle is a discipline that spotlights creativity, style, and technical prowess. Snowboarders ride courses featuring jumps, rails, boxes, and execute tricks to amaze judges, earning points for victory. This discipline emerged by blending freestyle snowboarding, terrain park features, and freeriding. The courses have grown in complexity and creativity over the years.

Competitive slopestyle snowboarding took shape in 1997 and rapidly evolved in the early 2000s. New tricks and events like the X Games played a pivotal role in popularizing the sport. In 2014, slopestyle snowboarding made its official Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia. This momentous occasion solidified its status as a mainstream global winter sport.

Today, slopestyle continues to evolve with innovative course designs, showcasing riders’ abilities in spins, flips, and rail maneuvers. Additionally, women’s slopestyle events have seen significant growth, highlighting the talent and athleticism of female riders in the snowboarding community.

Slopestyle Snowboarding Tricks

Slopestyle snowboarding is all about executing breathtaking tricks that wow the judges and the crowd. Here are some popular tricks to master:

  • Jumps: These are the most iconic features, allowing riders to launch themselves into the air. The size and shape of jumps can vary, challenging riders to perform different tricks.
  • Wallrides: These are angled walls that riders can ride up, across, or down. Wallrides add an extra layer of creativity to slopestyle runs.
  • Spins: Riders can perform 180s, 360s, 540s, and even 720s or more while in the air. These spins add style and difficulty to a run.
  • Flips: Flips involve rotating forward or backward while maintaining control. Tricks like frontflips and backflips are crowd-pleasers.
  • Grabs: Riders can grab their board in various ways during jumps, adding style points to their runs. Some common grabs include the melon grab and indy grab.
  • Rails and Boxes: Riders can slide along these narrow, elevated features, showcasing their exceptional balance and precision on the board. Common tricks performed on rails and boxes include boardslides and lipslides. In a boardslide, the snowboarder ollies straight up onto the rail, allowing the front of the board to glide across the rail. In a lipslide, it’s the tail of the snowboard that crosses the rail. A lipslide is the easier version because it requires less rotation during the ollie.

Slopestyle Snowboarding Competitions

The goal in slopestyle competitions is to finish the course while landing tricks to accumulate points. Courses typically consist of jibs and jumps. A jib is an obstacle, often with some sort of rail, that snowboarders can jump, ride, or slide on. A jump is a place where snowboarders can soar into the air and perform tricks.

According to the International Ski Federation (Federation Internationale de Ski, or FIS), there are a few regulations for the course:

  • The incline of the course should be about 12 degrees.
  • The course must be at least 30 meters (98.4 feet) wide.
  • The length of the course must be between 50-200 meters (164-656 feet).
  • The runtime of the course should not be less than 20 seconds.
  • The course must be usable for both male and female competitors

Slopestyle snowboarding competition generally consists of two rounds:

  • The qualifying round: This consists of two runs, and the rider keeps the higher of the two scores. The top 12 scorers then advance to the final round.
  • The final round: This round is typically three runs. The snowboarder with the lowest score goes first in the finals.

Judging can be controversial, as some judges focus on the overall performance, while others evaluate specific aspects. Riders are scored out of 100, with 60 points for tricks and 40 for overall impression, allowing for subjectivity in assessing style preferences. Judging involves five categories: amplitude, difficulty, variety, execution, and progression, with 60% of the score based on tricks and 40% on overall impression. Amplitude measures height or distance, difficulty assesses trick complexity, variety counts different tricks attempted, execution rates performance quality, and progression rewards innovation.

Slopestyle Snowboarding Olympics

Slopestyle snowboarding was added to the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia in 2014, making it a globally recognized and highly prestigious event. Athletes from around the world showcased their skills on the world stage, aiming for gold, silver, or bronze medals. The Olympic slopestyle course features an array of challenging features and is a testament to the sport’s growth and popularity. During this first Olympic year the American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won the gold medal, Norwegian Ståle Sandbech won silver and bronze went to the Canadian Mark McMorris.

Women’s Slopestyle vs. Men’s Slopestyle: Main Differences

While the fundamentals of slopestyle snowboarding remain the same for both men and women, there are some notable differences:

  • Course Design: The course for women’s slopestyle events may be scaled down in terms of size and features compared to the men’s course. This ensures that riders of all genders can compete safely and effectively.
  • Trick Difficulty: In some cases, women may perform slightly fewer rotations or flips compared to men, but this is changing as women continue to push the boundaries of the sport.
  • Style and Expression: Both men and women bring their unique style and creativity to slopestyle snowboarding, and these individual expressions are equally celebrated in the sport.

Tips for Slopestyle Snowboarding Riding

Before showing off your snowboarding talent you should make sure you have everything you need so that your slopestyle experience is not overshadowed by possible injuries. Here’s a list of things you need to consider before you start making great jumps:

  1. Proper Gear: Start with the right snowboarding gear, including a well-fitted board, boots, bindings, and appropriate clothing. Your equipment should match your riding style and skill level.
  2. Terrain Park Familiarity: Spend time getting comfortable in terrain parks. Practice on smaller features, like small jumps and easy rails, before attempting larger ones.
  3. Balance and Body Position: Maintain a low center of gravity, bend your knees, and keep your weight centered over the board. Proper balance and body position are crucial for landing tricks and maintaining control.
  4. Progression: Build your skills gradually. Start with simpler tricks and features, then work your way up to more complex maneuvers as you gain confidence and experience.
  5. Safety First: Always wear protective gear, including a helmet, wrist guards, and pads. Slopestyle snowboarding can be physically demanding, and safety should be a top priority.

Where to Experience Slopestyle Snowboarding

Slopestyle snowboarding is an exhilarating discipline that combines athleticism, creativity, and style on the snow. Whether you aspire to compete in the Olympics or simply want to enjoy the thrill of the terrain park, mastering the basics and honing your skills is a rewarding journey. With the right gear, dedication, and practice, you can carve your path to becoming a slopestyle snowboarding expert. Want to practice slopestyle or other disciplines yourself? Try one of UNUO.pro Snowboard Camps or go to our Snowboard Training Academy. Grab your board, hit the slopes, and get ready to experience the world of slopestyle snowboarding like never before!

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