Euro X Games in Tignes, France is a reminder of the enormous circus that comes with any snowboarding event these days, and how goddamn huge the sport is becoming.

There is, of course, the contest: slopestyle and pipe events that have attracted some of the best riders in the world. Then there’s the media: TV, print, and internet hacks from the across the world ready to document every last move thrown down and every last word uttered.

Then there are the sponsor-backed stands and “experiential” happenings, huge floats emblazoned with logos that seem to attend each event once it reaches a certain size. So far, so standard.

For me thought the most interesting thing so far about this event, other than the predictably mind-blowing riding, has been a little fringe event called Looking Sideways.

The accusation that is frequently leveled at events such as this is that “contests aren’t really snowboarding.” Looking Sideways seeks to put that right, as organizers Owen Bassett and Owen Tozer put it, by “aiming to bring art, photography, music, filmmaking and riding together in an ongoing series of events, exhibitions and, of course, rocking parties.”

“Snowboarding’s relationship with music and art is undeniable,” expands Tozer, “from the classic video parts that inspired us all and introduced the soundtracks to our roadtrips, to the art and graphics which adorn boards, t-shirts and the stickers that we leave in hard-to-reach places everywhere. The surf, skate, and snow scene is built on a culture of rampant creativity. About time, then for a project that celebrates this, and gives a little back!”

The event kicked off last night at Tignes’ popular Loop Bar with ‘Waiting for Clouds’, a retrospective of respected Euro snow photographer James McPhail’s work, and ‘Down Too Long In The Midnight Seas,’ an art show by rising star of the Brit art scene and Dalikfodda (www.dalikfodda.com) head honcho Scoph Scophfield.

It continues throughout the week with performances by DJs and musicians, so if you’re in Tignes make sure you hit the Loop Bar to check it out. “We’d love to roll this event out at other major surf and snow events”, says Bassett. “There’s enough creativity in the scene to support it”.

www.wearelookingsideways.com