With the Olympics including slopestyle snowboarding in its roster of events for the first time this year, we thought we'd write a bit of a short 'welcome' for everyone who's a newcomer and help you understand one of our favourite events. If you haven't been here before - hi, and thanks for taking a little bit of time to get to know our sport!
So, unlike halfpipe snowboarding (which you may have seen before) the slopestyle event is a constantly evolving set of jumps and features, layed out in a row - and each course is different... Here are a few (*cough*) 100% accurate (*cough*) facts you may not have known about slopestyle snowboarding:
[part title="Slopestyle Facts: 1 - 3"]
1. Back in the day, slopestyle was actually a time trial event with barrels and other obstacles that riders had to jump over - these gradually turned into the the shaped jumps and rails that we see today.
2. It's common knowledge that riders lose points if they drag their hand after landing a trick, but the reason behind it is a little known fact. Hand-drags were considered stylish (like in surfing) before they introduced the rule as a safety precaution, it was designed to counter the broken fingers that were common in early slopestyle competitions.
3. As with halfpipe - points are gained in slopestyle by spinning really quickly - but did you know that some riders wear specifically weighted clothing to help them spin faster?
[part title=" Slopestyle Facts 4 - 7"]
5. You may not know it when you're cruising the slopes - but in the highest levels of competition, wearing your goggle strap under your helmet indicates you naturally snowboard in a regular stance (left foot forward) - and wearing it over your helmet is a sign that you snowboard goofy (right foot forward).
6. If you've ever played a snowboarding computer game, you'll know that different points are given to different grabs. In slopestyle, you get less points if nobody else has done that grab in the same competition. If enough riders perform the same trick they can actually have points deducted...
7. Jumps or 'kickers' are one of the main features of slopestyle - the biggest ones are often called 'money booters', but this is actually a misuse of the name. The original 'money booter' was a fabled jump built in the BC backcountry and it hasn't been seen since the 1980s...
[part title="Slopestyle Facts: 8 - 10"]
8. There are a huge number of slopestyle competitions throughout the season and riders can earn accumulative points through winning each event - these are either saved or spent on upgrading equipment - which is why some riders have faster boards or can jump higher. Many of the products used are unsuitable for amateur riders and unavailable in highstreet stores.
9. The word 'jib' comes from the Joint Industry Board - their initials were stamped on the wood and metal that they supplied to help build the first slopestyle course.
10. The 'devil's tindy' is the most rare and difficult grab in snowboarding - that's why you'll almost never see one in a slopestyle competition. It's like the regular tindy (pictured) but the grab is done with the rider's front hand, and the toe edge of the board is reached through the rider's legs (see fig. 1)
If you've got this far and everything still makes sense, then congrats, you're a pro! Now go and show off your new knowledge to your friends, and remember, don't always believe everything you read on the internet...