The Top Snowboarding Competitions - From the Olympics to the X-Games, There's An Event For All Types of Riders
By Robert Rousseau, ExtremeProSports.com
The first snowboard-like device appears to have been built way back in 1929 (a man named Jack Burchett cut out a piece of plywood and secured it to his feet for snowboard-like traversing of hills). However, it wasn't until surfer Dimitrije Milovich's design- based on a surf board- that snowboards really entered the public consciousness.
Once Milovich brought things to another level, it was only a matter of time before snowboarders, like all athletes, started getting competitive.
In 1982, the first snowboard race was held in Suicide Six, just outside of Woodstock, Vermont. The goal for this initial competition that called for participants to board down a steep, icy face was rather simple- stay alive! The good thing is that racing competitions have gradually evolved since that first rather dangerous get- together, just as snowboards and equipment have since Milovich's initial concept.
Still, it wasn't until the inclusion of snowboarding events in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, that snowboarding became a sport in the eyes of the masses. Since then, its popularity has been on a steady incline.
Here's the thing, though. If you haven't seen these elite athletes compete, you just won't understand all the newfound hype. The only way to truly grasp the excitement a snowboarding competition can conjure up is to watch some professional snowboarders in action?
To aid in this endeavor, check out some of the most popular professional snowboarding competitions below.
2007 Alpine NorAm Cup
In 2007, the NorAm Cup will host 26 men's and 26 women's races throughout the United States and Canada, starting in Keystone, Colorado in November with men's competitions (11/27-11/30/06). The women's competitions will start soon after in Winter Park, Colorado (11/28- 12/1/06).
All told, the tour will take snowboarders and fans to Colorado, Maine, Montana, and of course, Canada. The finals will take place on March 14, 2007 and will continue until the eighteenth in Panorama, British Columbia.
The 2007 Alpine NorAm Cup is known as a starting ground for many younger riders starting to make a name for themselves. For more information, check out snocountry.com- www.snocountry.com/article.php/20061011103316903
Chevrolet Revolution Tour 2006-07
Chevrolet is a big snowboarding sponsor. Along with this, the Chevrolet Revolution Tour will start in Spirit Mountain, Minnesota on January 12, 2007 and will continue until the fourteenth there. Then they'll move on to Copper Mountain, Colorado (1/26-1/28/07), Okemo Mt., Vermont (2/2-2/3), Mt. Bachelor, Oregon (2/9- 2/11), and Timberline, Oregon (time to be determined). Each stop will include Halfpipe, Slopestyle, and Snowboardcross events. In addition, a rail jam will be held at select locations.
Chevrolet US Snowboard Grand Prix
Will start this year on December 10, 2006 in Breckenridge, Colorado with Halfpipe events. However, in February of 2007 (2/1-2/4), they'll travel to Mountain Creek, New Jersey for Halfpipe and Slopestyle events. Later that month, they'll finish the competition with one more set of events (site to be determined).
The FIS World Cup Circuit
The FIS World Cup Circuit is big for professional snowboarding and spans the globe. Toward the end of 2006 circuit will take snowboarders and fans to the Netherlands, Italy, Austria (more than once), and Slovenia. In 2007, the circuit will bounce around even more, to include Switzerland, Russia, Japan, Korea, and Quebec. According to professional snowboarder, Chris Klug, one should especially check out the World Champs Event in Arosa, Switzerland between 1/13-1/20/07.
If you want to stay on top of the FIS schedule, the United States Ski Association might help you do that- www.ussa.org. In addition, Klug's own schedule is a nice resource as well- www.chrisklug.com/schedule.html.
Has to be mentioned because an Olympic medal, for most athletes, is the culmination of everything they've always dreamed about. Of course Olympic athletes don't get paid, so it may be a stretch including it here with professional competitions. Still, the commercial connection to Olympic events could, in itself, be considered payment.
At present, the Olympics hold six snowboard events- the Men's Halfpipe, Ladies' Halfpipe, Men's Parallel Giant Slalom, Ladies' Parallel Giant Slalom, and Men's Snowboard Cross and Ladies' Snowboard Cross.
Race to the Cup Alpine Series
Each stop on this tour includes two Alpine events and $3,000 in prize money. The 2006-07 series will kickoff in Copper Mountain, Colorado on November 20, 2006 and will end on the twenty- first. From there they'll travel to Steamboat Springs, Colorado (1/5- 1/6/07) and Bromley, VT (3/10- 3/11/07).
Again, for further details check out www.ussa.org
The US Open
The US Open snowboarding events have been held annually at the end of the winter for over two decades; in other words, the whole thing kicks off in March. The winner of the US Open gets $250,000 in prize money.
Any wonder why the US Open is a popular event for snowboarders?
Vans Cup at Northstar Tahoe
Going into their third season at Lake Tahoe, the Vans Cup has become an extremely popular event. They hold Superpipe (male/ female), Slopestyle (male/ female), and Men's Rail Jam events. Check out Vans Cup at Northstar Tahoe
to view last year's final results and prize amounts.
The X Games
Sponsored by ESPN, the X Games are a great yearly event for extreme sports enthusiasts. Though originally devoid of winter events, more recently the Winter X Games were developed. Hence, they picked up freestyle snowboarding.
The next Winter X Games will take place between January 25-28, 2007 in Aspen, Colorado. If you like crazy tricks and stunts, the X Games are for you.
Whether you are a seasoned snowboarder or first- timer, these popular events should be enough to wet your whistle. Happy boarding!