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The Snowboard

The basic design is a board (much like a wheelless skateboard) to which the rider's feet are attached with bindings. No poles are used; racers push off from stationary posts. The size and shape of a snowboard varies according to the intended use of the board and the size of the snowboarder. However, the average size of a board is 150 cm (5 feet) in length and 25 cm (10 inches) in width. A board may have a deep sidecut (giving it a shape similar to an hourglass) in order to facilitate sharper turns. A leash connects the snowboarder's ankle to the board, preventing it from sliding away after a fall.

Have a go at the Snowboard Game.

How It's Done

A stiff board and plate bindings and boots are used for the Alpine events, all of which are timed and contain gates around which snowboarders must maneuver. The slalom and giant slalom are considered technical contests because of the tightness of the turns. The supergiant slalom (also called the super-G) is a speed event with looser turns and a longer course. Highly flexible boards, shell bindings, and boots are used for the freestyle events, which take place on a halfpipe, a ramp built from snow that resembles the bottom portion of a tube. Halfpipes vary in size; however, they are generally 75 to 100 metres (246 to 328 feet) in length and 10 to 18 metres (30 to 60 feet) from wall to wall. The height of a wall ranges from 3 to 6 metres (10 to 20 feet). Not a race, the freestyle is a series of acrobatic tricks that are rated by three to five judges. Flexible freestyle boots and bindings are used with a board of medium flexibility for the boardercross contest, in which four to six racers simultaneously navigate a downhill course containing bumps (moguls), jumps, and other obstacles; the winner is determined by speed.