Snowboard Cross Rules: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Last updated 25. November 2019

The joy of high-speed snowboard cross or “boardercross” is unparalleled and continues to bring in millions of enthusiasts. Whether it’s the jumps, drops, or collisions, this team sport is a wonderful version of snowboarding.

In essence, the snowboard cross is a sport where 4-6 snowboarders are put up against each other while racing through a course. Their goal is the same – get past the finish line before everyone else.

It’s become a popular sport at the Winter Olympics and is admired by fans all over the globe.

Here Are Five Fun Facts About Snowboard Cross

Made in British Columbia

Let’s begin with where it all started for snowboard cross.

It was during the early 90s when the fuse was lit. It was a man named Greg Stump that started spending time at Blackcomb Mountain (Whistler, BC). His vision was to work on a snowboard film that would start as a series named “Greg Stump’s World of Extremes.”

The American filmmaker took the opportunity to learn more about the region and its snowboarding enthusiasts. At the same time, he had come out to the mountain with his partner named Steven Rachtschaffner.

While they had gone through a lot of episodes on some of the “extremes” on planet Earth, they will still unsure about how to wrap things up. What were they going to do so people would enjoy the finale and be wowed with what they had managed to film? They continued to walk around and decided it was time to mix things up a bit.

This is when they took the time to build a special motocross-style course along the mountain. It took all night for this course to become a reality but they were able to do it just the way it had been planned!

With their little innovation, they were able to give birth to what is now known as boardercross or snowboard cross. The day ended with them filming seven snowboarders going down the course while racing to see who would come first.

Designed to Mix and Match Snowboarding Skills

timelapse image of a snowboarder's big air jump

What was the reason snowboard cross became a possibility? What was the appeal of doing this?

Indeed, snowboard cross is a boatload of fun and that is guaranteed. People love the idea of pitting people against each other and getting them to do things at high speeds with jumps, bumps, and more. This is all noticeable when people show up to support snowboarders as they rush down a course as if they are hurtling with reckless abandon.

However, it also has to do with the skillset that’s on offer among the athletes. Each one is unique with some being able to do well in straight lines while others are able to make high jumps that go up to 14-15 feet. With snowboard cross, you need a bit of everything and that’s when you can see who is the best of the bunch.

Everyone wants to know who is the best and this is a great way to open things up.

One of the main reasons this is able to do well as a sport has to do with the competitive factor. People like the idea of races. Traditional snowboarding doesn’t have people rushing downhill at high speeds. It often has athletes going in turns with scoring coming into play. While that has always had a role, this is a unique twist where people have to get things done on their own by winning the race.

Special Boards Required for Snowboard Cross

What about the equipment? Does the same board get used for all competitions?

No, the equipment is going to vary because snowboarders cannot go out and use a traditional freestyle board. The traditional board is far too light and small to manage in such conditions, which means a specialized solution is prepared for these competitions. The freestyle board is put away for the main competitions with racers looking to get their heavier board in hand as soon as possible.

Along with the board, they also invest in a full-face helmet, stiffer gear, and something to protect against the wind drag that occurs as you rush downhill.

Courses Can Vary

snowboard cross in action

Each nation has its own snowboard cross course and they will vary depending on the area’s characteristics.

It’s not just a simple slope that is at a steep angle. In fact, some tend to have wider alleys while others can be quite narrow. In addition to the width, you will also notice a change in the number of jumps and how high those jumps are.

The variations can include specific drops, beams, gap jumps, steeps, and more. No two courses are alike and that is what makes the sport fun. All of your skills are put to the test during the race.

Debuted in 1997 X Games

Where did it all start for snowboard cross professionally?

After the sport was given birth, it was time to take it to the big leagues with professional snowboarders taking a shot. The X Games is a well-regarded competition and was the first one to take up the snowboard cross in 1997. The event was loved but had to be removed in 2013 because other events took its place.

However, the Olympics continue to maintain this sport since 2006 because it is still a big draw. This is something that continues to win people over every single day.

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