Snowboarding has gone from strength to strength since it was first developed as a winter sport in the US in the 1960s and 70s. Now regarded as the cooler sibling of the more traditional winter sport of skiing, it tends to attract a younger crowd, as well as those who are young at heart! Snowboarding is a physically tough sport that demands a lot of the legs and requires peak physical fitness for anyone who is intent on reaching the dizzy heights of competition success. For those who make it to the top, these snowboarding events and competitions are the best place to showcase those considerable talents.
For most of those who consider themselves to be athletes, an Olympic medal is probably the ultimate accolade, and for snowboarders it’s certainly no different. Snowboarding was first recognised as an Olympic sport at the 1998 games in Japan and since then has gathered more and more fans and become a key part of the Olympic events schedule. Whilst you might not go home with a cheque after the Olympics (it’s not a paid event like many other competitions), if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on an Olympic medal, there are plenty of sponsorship opportunities likely to follow. There are currently six Olympic events to compete in – Snowboard Cross, Parallel Giant Slalom and Halfpipe, with separate events for men and women.
If you’re looking to take part in one of the best paid snowboarding events on the circuit then it has to be the US Open. With a prize of $250,000 for the winner, it’s no surprise that the US Open is one of the most popular competitions for the best snowboarders on the block, especially those looking to turn talent into big bucks. The event takes place annually in March and has been going for more than twenty years.
The Winter X Games
The Winter X Games are sponsored by broadcaster ESPN and a great option for boarders of all levels looking for some high profile events to challenge themselves against the best in the world and encourage that competitive spirit. The Games usually take place in January somewhere in the US, such as Aspen Colorado, and include a whole range of winter sports, including skiing and snowmobile events. Snowboarding categories at the Winter X Games include Snowboard Big Air, Snowboard Slopestyle, Snowboard Superpipe, Snowboard Cross and Snowboard Best Method.
FIS World Cup Circuit
The FIS World Cup Circuit is one of the biggest and best established when it comes to world snowboarding events. First launched in 1966 as an alpine ski competition, the Circuit’s remit was subsequently expanded to include snowboarding and now offers one of the best showcases for snowboarding talent in the world. The FIS World Cup Circuit takes place across a range of different countries, from Slovenia to Switzerland, with locations that change every year.
Alpine NorAm Cup
The Alpine NorAm Cup is a circuit of races that take place throughout the US and Canada during November to March each year. There are usually around 26 races all in, with separate competitions for both men and women. Whilst the Cup tends to draw lots of seasoned boarders, it’s also known as somewhere that newbies can get some attention.
These are some of the best snowboarding events and competitions in the world, from the most high profile like the Olympics, to the best paid, like the US Open. All it takes is a good board and some ‘rad skills’ and you too could be heading home with that gold medal or huge cheque weighing pleasantly heavy in your pockets.
Amy is a writer from Alpine Action – a ski and snowboard holiday company providing catered chalets in Meribel & La Tania