Scaffolding towers over Oslo for the X Games Big Air. Photo: Anthony Huus
Following snowboarding’s competitive circuit has rarely been easy, mainly thanks to the presence of two rival tours – neither of which has the best of track records.
On the one hand you have the Fédération Internationale du Ski (FIS), which went from barely acknowledging snowboarding’s existence to presiding over its Olympic qualification process in a disturbingly short period of time. These days they run several successful snowboarding events, including their World Cup series, but the tour still struggles to shake off the baggage of history (not helped by the fact that the FIS World Championships is a mess). No matter, though; given that it’s an Olympic year, you can expect to see all the biggest names on the FIS tour.
Then there’s the World Snowboard Tour (WST). While on paper it’s always been ‘for snowboarders, by snowboarders’, that’s never quite been enough to consistently attract the best riders – especially when the five rings rolls around. They’re still involved in a few of the bigger events though, including the Burton US Open, and they run their own World Championships every four years as an alternative to the Olympics.
“A lot of things change from year to year, making the competitive calendar a hard one with which to keep up”
On top of those, there’s the odd event that’s independent of either tour. These don’t tend to be “elite” contests, yet for various reasons they’ve become staples of the calendar. Also, some events (such as the Laax Open) are part of both tours – go figure.
A lot of things change from year to year, making the competitive circuit a hard one with which to keep up. The Air + Style tour stops have been changed yet again, for example. So don’t be surprised if further tweaks are made before next year’s calendar is confirmed, or additional comps are announced as we get closer to winter.
Here’s what we know so far. Included is key information about each event, covering the following categories:
- Venue – where it’s all going down, obviously.
- Disciplines – Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Big Air are the popular ones here; for the sake of simplicity we’ve omitted snowboardcross and any other forms of racing (with one notable exception). Occasionally a quarterpipe comp or rail jam may sneak in too, though. If you’re more interested in freeriding, you can find all the dates and information for the Freeride World Tour here.
- Tour affiliation – Whether the event is part of the FIS tour, the WST, both, or neither.
- M/F – Whether the event caters for men, women, or both.