The Olympic flame, circa 2014. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
Ever since 1998 in Nagano, Japan, snowboarding has been a major focal point of the Winter Olypmic coverage. The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea won’t be much different. After the addition of slopestyle to the snowboarding events listed in 2014, the 2018 Winter Games list is getting bigger by featuring the popular “Big Air” event. Will we see quad corks for the first time in this quadrennial contest’s history? Quite possibly. But for now, we will just give you a breakdown of the events to watch for this upcoming Olympic-packed February.
A double exposure from the 2017 Air+Style Big Air event held in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Big Air format will now be featured in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChange, South Korea. PHOTO: Mark Clavin
There is a first for everything, and this year will be the first for Big Air. Making waves in the progression and trends of snowboarding for years, the single jump competition is now making its Olympic debut. Past popular platforms for the giant jump’s history have included Air and Style, X Games, the U.S. Open, and a multitude of championships around the world. Featuring a men and women’s competition, PyeongChang 2018 will mirror the format used in the X Games requiring riders to land two different tricks, or variations of, to have a chance at the podium. Our predictions of what will go down will be released closer to the start!
Stale Sandbech on his way to slopestyle silver at the 2014 Winter Olympics. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
Slopestyle will make its second Olympic appearance in 2018 after Sage Kotsenburg took home the first ever gold with his stylish run, including the famed backside 1620 Japan, at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Riders will have two runs to put down a combination of tricks on multiple features in front of the judges.
Sage Kotsenburg wins the first ever slopestyle gold medal in Olympic history. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
If the slopestyle course for the 2018 Winter Games is anything like the test event held earlier this year in South Korea, the lap will follow the classic layout of jib and rail features at the top, with three jumps at the bottom. Check out the video for a better idea:
Shaun White is set to return to the 2018 Winter Olympics. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
The halfpipe competition has been snowboarding’s primetime event within the Olympics since the start in 1998. This year, with the return of two-time gold medalist Shaun White, aims to be no different. The fan favorite feature in South Korea will once again feature both men and women competing in the classic 22′ walls, almost 600′ in length, and probably experience new variations of tricks and athletic prowess.
Kelly Clark on her way to Olympic gold in women’s halfpipe at the 2014 Sochi Games. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen
We tend to not cover Snowboard Cross much, but every four years national pride swells as we cheer for our home countries racing against others on a course full of berms, jumps, and rollers. The premise of the event is four snowboarders taking their freshly waxed boards through runs that weekend warriors “claim” they could ride, but would most definitely fail in a glorious ball of fencing. It could be considered the most directly competitive discipline in snowboarding, based on the fact that it has the most riders starting off directly across from one another.
According to the PyeongChang 2018 site, parallel slalom, just like slopestyle, will make its second appearance in the Olympics in 2018. Men and women will don speedsuits and sharpen their edges as they fly like a bat out of hell down the mountain. The event pits two riders against one another as they weave through flags in hopes of edging the other one out by a nose before they reach the finish line. Simply put, the fastest time wins and they race right two at a time.
Giant Parallel Slalom-
Refer to “Parallel Slalom” and add the word “Giant” in front of the description. It is the older of the two, first debuting on the Olympic stage in 2002 at Salt Lake City and from our simple understanding, it is bigger.