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Events

Snowboard Events Calendar 2017-2018

When and where to see this winter's biggest comps

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.

Events are listed in chronological order – click a link to skip:

NOVEMBER 2017: Milan Big AirAir & Style Beijing

DECEMBER 2017:  Arag Big Air | Dew Tour

JANUARY 2018: Laax Open | X Games Aspen

FEBRUARY 2018: Legendary Baker Banked SlalomWinter Olympics

MARCH 2018: Burton US Open | Air & Style Los Angeles | Burton US Open | X Games Oslo | Snowboard Jamboree

MILAN BIG AIR, 11th NOVEMBER 2017

Milan is first out of the blocks once again, after a simiular event in Copenhagen scheduled for last weekend was cancelled.

Taking the mountains to the people is always a prime opportunity to get more people into snowboarding, and with Big Air set to make its Olympic debut next year there’ll hopefully be more interest as a result. Anna Gasser and Marcus Kleveland cleaned up last time, and there’s every chance that they’ll still be the ones to beat.

Unlike some of the events on this list, this one – as with all FIS Big Air comps – is for both men and women, and the prize purse is shared equally. Even FIS haters have to tip their cap to them for that.

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AIR + STYLE BEIJING, 24th-25th NOVEMBER 2017

Big Air doesn’t get much bigger than the Air & Style series. The legendary event is seemingly in a constant state of flux, though, with every year being a little different.

China remains the first port of call, featuring a massive booter under the roof of the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Ever since its debut in 2011 as the ‘Air & Style Presented By Shaun White‘, the Beijing leg has been one hell of a show – not least in 2012 when an unknown Yuki Kadono blew the doors off on his way to victory.

A+S is still a sausage-fest, and it was that man Marcus Kleveland again with the swingingest sausage of 2016. We’ll see if he can do it again in 2017.

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ARAG BIG AIR FREESTYLE FESTIVAL, 1st-2nd DECEMBER 2017

This is stop number two for the Super Series, and this time the action is in Germany.

Much like the London Freeze comp used to be, this FIS Big Air event also doubles as a music festival, with performaces from German acts Ktaftklub and Cro.

No doubt the competition will be fierce – Anna Gasser and Roope Tonteri took the wins last time – but there’ll be plenty of scope for a few biers and wursts afterwards too.

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DEW TOUR, 14th-17th DECEMBER 2017

For halfpipe and slopestyle riders, this is the first big North American comp of the winter.

The cream of the crop (or at least those who have been invited) descend on Breck to throw down. Look out for more ‘Welcome’ videos (like the one above) to see who’ll be attending.

We reckon it’ll be well worth watching; if you’re in the States, you can watch the pipe finals on NBC, and everyone else can live-stream the action at dewtour.com

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LAAX OPEN, 15th-20th JANUARY 2018

It was seemingly quite a blow when Burton announced that they wouldn’t be running their European Open, but the Laax Open has more than filled the gap for the last two years.

The slopestyle features an interesting twist on the standard ‘three rails, three jumps’ format, and the famous halfpipe always encourages the field to raise their game.

Switzerland’s finest park will get another rinsing from the best riders in the world, competing for a CHF200,000 in prize money.

We’re really looking forward to this one. With any luck, Markus Keller will do something weird again.

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X GAMES ASPEN, 25th-28th JANUARY 2017

Aside from perhaps the ‘lympics, nothing tops X Games for sheer spectacle. Despite its invite-only format and the lack of Big Air for women (which they’ve now finally put right), it’s considered the closet thing snowboarding has to a proper World Championships.

It’s far from perfect in other ways too – not least because sharing the stage with skiing and snowmobiling means that the TV coverage often cuts away during crucial moments in qualification – but it’s still able to attract the biggest names, and is currently the biggest annual event we’ve got.

You can watch it on ESPN in the States, and can stream it for a fee elsewhere. As long as you can stomach the relentless commercial breaks – Yvan Eht Nioj! – it’s well worth it.

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LEGENDARY BAKER BANKED SLALOM, 9th-11th FEBRUARY 2018

It seems fitting that, as most events shuffle around the calendar to avoid conflict with the Olympics, the only one not to give a shit is the ‘anti-Olympics’.

Despite being a race with only a duct-taped trophy up for grabs, the Legendary Banked Slalom never fails to attract the finest riders around.

Legends of the 80s and 90s line up against some of the biggest names in modern competition, as well as more than a few local heroes.

The conditions sometimes don’t play ball, but when this event is firing on all cylinders it’s the one you most want to be at.

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WINTER OLYMPICS, 10th-24th FEBRUARY 2018

The biggest names in competitive snowboarding will joing their skeleton bobsleighing compatriots in South Korea for the latest chance to score the front of a cereal box.

Anyone who’s had a look at the plans for the slopestyle course are going to want to tune in from 10th-12th February – it looks fully bonkers.

From 12th-14th it’s the turn of the pipe riders, who will be hoping for something a bit more robust than Sochi’s soggy mess.

Closing the show for the snowboarders is the debut of Olympic Big Air, where many of the same faces from the slopestyle will have another crack at the gold on the 23rd & 24th.

 

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AIR + STYLE LOS ANGELES, 3rd-4th March 2018

From one of the oldest comps around to one of the newest. The LA stop of the Air & Style only made its debut in 2014 but, with the backing of majority shareholder Shaun White, it went off with a bang.

Yuki Kadono became the first to win an American A&S, beating Seb Toots and Stale Sandbech to the punch. He repeated the feat last year – can he get the three-peat in 2016?

Expect the scaffolding to stretch to the moon, and the best riders to once again throw down in Cali.

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BURTON US OPEN, 5th-10th MARCH 2018

One of the oldest events in snowboarding returns for 2018. With the demise of the BEO – and before that, the NZ, Australian and Japan Opens – the Burton US Open is now the last event of its kind.

Not that it’s any less of a big deal – both the Slopestyle and Big Air events are always right up there with the biggest comps of the year, every single season.

It was only a few years ago that Yuki Kadono blew our collective minds with back-to-back triple cork 1620s, and for the last two years Shaun White has dominated the halfpipe. What might they – or anyone else – have up their sleeve this year?

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X GAMES OSLO, 5th-11th MARCH 2018

The Tignes-based X Games Europe was one of the highlights of the contest circuit until it was abruptly cancelled in 2014. Now, after Oslo picked up the mantle in 2016, the X is firmly back on the continent.

It first it only held halfpipe and Big Air events, but slopestlye is now in the mix too. There’s also a skateboard street comp, marking the first time an X Games event has featured it alongside snowboarding.

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SNOWBOARD JAMBOREE, 22nd-25th March 2017

The dates may have been shifted to make way for the ‘lympics, but the Snowboard Jamboree has been a staple of the Canadian events calendar since 2009 (excluding 2013 when Stoneham hosted the FIS World Championships).

Heavy hitters like Peetu Piiroinen, Cheryl Maas and Darcy Sharpe rank among the event’s previous winners of the Big Air, so expect many an elite rider to say ‘oui’ to Quebec.

This is also the final stop of the FIS Super Series – once the dust settles, the highest-ranking snowboarders of each gender will be crowned tour champions.

On top of that there’s the ‘Stairs Master’ rail comp, so the Jamboree really has something for everyone.

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