Snowboarding made its grand entrance at the Winter Games in 1998. The fast-growing sport, which was developed in the U.S. in the 1960s, combines elements of surfing, skateboarding and skiing. Snowboarding has ten events at the 2014 Olympics: men’s and women’s events in halfpipe, parallel giant slalom, cross, slopestyle, and parallel slalom. The 2014 games will be the first for slopestyle and parallel slalom.
The Rules of the Game
In the halfpipe, individual snowboarders soar through the air as they perform high-flying jumps, twists and tricks on a U-shaped ramp. Organizers build the snowy course by digging deep into a hill. The riders are judged on the height and style of their tricks.
In the parallel slalom, two snowboarders race down parallel courses on the same slope. The course is lined with flags that the skiers must weave through.
In the cross event, four snowboarders speed down a course that features plenty of jumps, bumps, and turns. The fastest two racers from each group advance to the next round.
In the new slopestyle event, athletes perform on a 2,083-foot slope featuring a variety of rail, quarterpipe, and jump obstacles. Athletes make two runs and are scored on their best run. Snowboarders use special flexible boards for this event (and for halfpipe) that help the athlete keep balance while performing tricks.