No competition has split opinions in snowboarding like the Olympics, but when the PyeongChang opening ceremony wraps up, halfpipe will have been a part of the five-ring circus for twenty years – even Terje Haakonsen might be tuning in by now.
It’s undeniable that an Olympic gold medal is the most recognisable – and maybe *whisper* the most prestigious – accolade in snowboarding these days, with a win guaranteeing overnight global fame and appearances on talk shows and cereal boxes, that is until the World Cup kicks off in June. Whilst some still grumble that they’d rather see it run by anyone other than FIS, it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t pushed the sports boundaries.
For the first time, Big Air will be joining halfpipe and slopestyle as an Olympic event, along with boardercross and parallel giant slalom, of course. With slopestyle becoming one of the breakout sports in its debut at Sochi 2014, it’s likely that the big jump will go down just as well with audiences across the globe this coming February.
There are plenty of questions to ask in the lead up: will Shaun White try again for a third gold? Will anyone make a dent in the US team’s medal haul? Will this be the games remembered for quads corks, aka #thedeathofsnowboarding? Stay with us at @onboardmag as we attempt to answer them all before, during and after PyeongChang 2018.