Snowboarding at Beijing 2022

Venues: Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park, Big Air Shougang

Competition Dates: February 5-12, 14-15 (Days 1-8, 10-11)

Events: 11 (5 men, 5 women, 1 mixed)

National Sport Organization: Canada Snowboard

International Federation: International Ski Federation (FIS)

There are five categories of Olympic snowboard events, each featuring athletes riding similar shaped boards. But while some of these events are based purely on speed, others are fully judged. All involve great technical skill.

Team Canada Jasey Jay Anderson PyeongChang 2018

In the parallel giant slalom, two riders race head-to-head through series of gates down two parallel courses labeled red and blue. In the qualification round, each rider does a run on each of the red and blue courses. The two times are added together and the 16 fastest riders advance to the elimination finals. In the elimination rounds, both riders get a chance to race each of the courses in their head-to-head matchup. The loser of the first run starts the second run with a time delay equal to the time deficit from the first run, therefore the rider that wins the second run advances to the next phase. Eliminations continue until two riders are left to race in the Big Final for gold and silver while the two riders they defeated in the semifinals race in the Small Final for bronze.

Team Canada PyeongChang 2018 Derek Livingston

In halfpipe, one rider performs at a time in a sloped half-cylinder of snow. Their routine includes acrobatic flips, spins and airs, moving back from one wall to another. Riders are judged on the variety, difficulty, style and execution of their maneuvers, including the amplitude they achieve above the walls, the cleanliness of their landings and the form in the air. During each phase of competition, each rider performs two routines but only the highest-scoring one counts towards the results.

Snowboard cross racers near the finish line

In snowboard cross, riders race in packs over a course featuring a variety of terrain including jumps, berms, rollers and other obstacles. The competition begins with a qualification round in which riders race individually against the clock. All riders get two runs with only the fastest one being used to determine who advances to the elimination finals. During the finals, riders race in heats of six with the top three in each heat advancing to the next phase until six riders remain to race in the Big Final for the medals.

New to the Olympic program at Beijing 2022 will be a mixed team snowboard cross event. Each team is comprised of one man and one woman. In each heat, the men go down the course first. As they reach the bottom, the gates at the top open to allow the women to start in the order and intervals that match how the men crossed the finish line.

Mark McMorris competing in PyeongChang

In slopestyle, riders go down a course comprised of various obstacles such as hips, jumps, rails, and boxes. Judges evaluate the runs for their overall composition, including the sequence, difficulty, style and execution of the tricks, the amount of risk in the routine (including the amplitude achieved) and how the rider uses the course. During each phase of competition, each rider does two runs but only the highest-scoring one counts towards the results.

Team Canada Max Parrot PyeongChang 2018

The big air features riders performing a single trick jump. Travelling down a long ramp, they kick into the air to attain maximum height and distance before securing a clean landing. Tricks are evaluated by a panel of judges for their difficulty, style and execution. Competition begins with a qualification round. After one round of jumping, the highest scoring riders advance direct to the final, while the remaining competitors are given one more chance to move on. In the final, each rider takes three runs with the two highest scoring runs combined to determine the overall results.

Canadian History (Pre-Beijing 2022)

Canada has won 11 Olympic snowboard medals in the six Games since the sport was added to the Olympic program.

The first came at Nagano 1998, where snowboard made its Olympic debut. Ross Rebagliati captured gold in what was then a giant slalom event.

Dominique Maltais poses with Canadian flag

Dominique Maltais followed that up with a bronze medal in the Olympic debut of snowboard cross at Turin 2006. Teammate Maëlle Ricker also competed in that Big Final, but had an unfortunate crash which left her off the podium.

Four years later at Vancouver 2010, Ricker got her redemption in the best way possible, winning Olympic gold in in her home province. There was also a standout performance by Jasey-Jay Anderson in the parallel giant slalom. In his fourth Olympic appearance, the man who had won everything else in the sport finally got his first Olympic medal, a gold. Mike Robertson added a silver in the men’s snowboard cross.

Team Canada Mark McMorris PyeongChang 2018 slopestyle final

At Sochi 2014, Maltais returned to the podium, this time winning snowboard cross silver to become Canada’s first two-time Olympic medallist snowboarder. Meanwhile in the Olympic debut of slopestyle, Mark McMorris overcame a broken rib to win the bronze medal.

McMorris won another slopestyle bronze at PyeongChang 2018, sharing the podium with silver medallist teammate Max Parrot. At those Games, Sébastien Toutant won the first ever Olympic gold medal in men’s big air. Laurie Blouin came back from a crash in training that left her with a black eye to win silver in women’s slopestyle amidst tricky weather conditions.