2022 Winter Olympics: Snowboarding

Updated January 31, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

More Mixed Teams gives men and women more chances to compete

2018 Winter Olympics Pyeongchang Snowboarding
Source: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP

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Snowboarding, a largely American sport made popular by events like the X-games, is a fairly recent addition to the Olympics. Snowboarding makes its sixth Olympic appearance at Beijing. The sport, which first appeared at the 1998 Nagano Games, is still a work in progress as events are changed and added. In the 2018 Games, the parallel slalom was substituted with the new big air event. In 2022, a mixed teams event has been added to the snowboard cross. This is part of the IOC's broader goal of increasing sports with mixed gender participation and increasing the role of women in the games.

The events

With the big air events, there are 10 snowboarding events: men's and women's halfpipe, men's and women's parallel giant slalom, men's and women's snowboard cross, men's and women's slopestyle, and men's and women's big air.

Slopestyle, set on a downhill course, combines aerial tricks and stunts performed on boxes and rails. Riders are not timed; instead they are scored for the difficulty and style of their tricks.

In snowboard cross, the course is made up of different sections: whoops (moguls), waves, banks, kickers, and spines (jumps with 90° angles), with a series of blue and red gates and triangular flags marking the course and indicating entrances to obstacles.

The half-pipe is probably the most excitng snowboarding event to watch. Athletes perform acrobatic, aerial twists and turns high above the rim of the half-pipe. In the half-pipe, each run is scored on a scale of 0.1 to 10.0 by a panel of five judges. One judge scores the standardized moves, another scores amplitude (the height of maneuvers), one scores quality of rotations, and two score overall impression. For the amplitude score, each maneuver is given an additional point for every 30 centimeters that the competitor reaches above the lip of the pipe. The scores for each maneuver are averaged to determine the final amplitude score. Falls and other mistakes lead to deductions.

In the parallel giant slalom, the racers take qualifying runs down a course, making turns around gates. The top 16 men and top 16 women are ranked according to their times. Then they face off in a bracket format with 1 against 16, 2 against 15, etc. The two snowboarders compete in a two-race match (once on each course). The winner is the racer who posts the best total time. The winners of each match move on to the next round until the semifinals. The two semifinals winners race for the gold (the loser gets the silver) and the semifinals losers race for the bronze.

The big air event, which replaced the parallel slalom, is about making the most out of one's jumps. The goal is for snowboarders to perform three tricks in a single jump, averaging their best out of three runs. Scoring is similar to slopestyle.

The Beijing Games

The snowboarding events will be held at two locations. The Big Air events will be held at the new Big Air Shougang facility in Beijing, while the other events will be held at the Genting Snow Park in Hebei Province, north of Beijing. The events will begin with the men's slopestyle on Feb. 6, and will conclude with the men's big air on Feb. 15.


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