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Snowboarding's Different Riding Styles

28 August 2013



Whether in terrain parks, backcountry or urban environments— this broad
term describes all riding where tricks are performed. Freestyle riding is, and
continues to be a popular style of riding, especially with the continuous
progression of features and tricks. Its future is only restricted to one's
creativity on a snowboard.


This style of riding is characterized by the use of existing features
within or around urban and human-made landscapes. Handrails, ledges, parking
structures, walls, etc. These features offer a playground for riding outside of
resorts. The progression of street riding has surged in the last handful years
as the level of riding has further adapted to such surroundings. It's the most
accessible form of riding for many younger riders and continues to grow.

Half pipe

Made popular by the last four Olympics, this part of snowboarding
involves performing tricks while riding through a massive U-shaped snow feature
at high speeds. Adapted form skateboard vert riding, snowboard half pipe has
changed dramatically from the rudimentary days of riding natural gullies to
today's massive pipe productions that implement specialized snow machines and
precision shaping. Larger pipes continue to allow riders to ride faster, go
bigger and invent new tricks. However, the considerable time and financial
costs of creating and maintaining pipes, as well as their limited accessibility
pose a threat to its evolution.


Freeriding is exactly that—riding at one's leisure in any terrain and
only bound by the mountain. This type of riding is best portrayed by the
pursuit of riding massive peaks, but it's not solely restricted to that. Riding
natural features and adding freestyle elements to them is common. This riding
style is limited by access to mountains and threatened by the dangers that
exist (avalanches, crevasses) when seeking to ride in distant areas. The future
of freeriding is wide open, and as the film Deeper presents, as long as there
are peaks with snow, there exists a desire to ride them.


This side of the snowboarding includes races such as slalom, giant
slalom and boardercross. Boardercross is an adaptation of BMX riding where four
riders race down a course of jumps, berms, etc. Slalom racing is a timed race
through a series of gates. This niche side of the sport persists mainly in
association with similar ski races. While deemed and Olympic sport, its future
lies in the problem of attracting younger riders.