Fifteen years after hosting the First Worldwide Breakdancing Championships, Swatch is cutting new rug insnowboard competition. The Swiss watch company is one of boardercross’ biggest proponents, andsponsors The Swatch Boarder-X World Tour.

Last season the tour opened and closed in Europe, but made three stops in the U.S. along the way. The only professional boardercross events that bridge the Atlantic, the Swatch tour is renowned as the pinnacle of snowboarding’s most dynamic discipline. The five-stop tour’sstarting list typically includes a who’s who of world-class snowboarding-it’s the one to win and watch.Events attract upwards of 200 riders from over fifteen countries and are combined (on all of the U.S. stops)with nighttime music concerts that make sure fun isn’t left out of the competitive equation. As the Boarder-Xmatures, courses are improving (they showed marked progress between the second and third stop last year)to maximize excitement while still considering rider safety.

The riders are also working to ensure the future of the sport’s most freeride-related contest format by forming associations of their own. Growing pains are still evident in boardercross as they are in snowboarding itself, but with the help of established tours andorganized pros, the Swatch Boarder-X seems to have the hole shot toward legitimizing boardercross as avenue for the best all-around riders in the world. -K.H.

Catch the tour this season at: Sölden (AUT) November 5-8, 1998 TBA, (ITA) January TBA, 1999 Bear Mountain, CA (USA) February 4-7, 1999Copper Mountain, CO (USA) February 18-21, 1999 TBA, Utah (USA) March 11-14, 1999 Laax (SUI)April 8-11, 1999