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Halfpipe Competitions – How do they work?

snowboard halfpipe competitions

halfpipe competitions

Typically, in halfpipe competitions like in the Olympics, each snowboarder get 2 runs down the pipe to impress the judges. Beginning at the very top, they drop down one of the walls and take off on the other side to try their first trick, which is usually a high grab trick, allowing them to increase their speed and set up for bigger tricks down the halfpipe.

The snowboarder then gets about 6 to 8 jumps in each run as he/she makes their way down the halfpipe, trying to land their best tricks on both walls. The strategy is to score points by landing or “sticking” different tricks, such as spins, flips and grabs.

Loud music gets the competitors and the crowd pumped up as the athletes do their tricks and most riders even snowboard with headphones on. This helps to drowned out the noise of the crowd and allows them to focus.

The 5 judges can each award up to ten points. One judge assesses the straight air tricks, one judges the tricks with rotations, one judges the height, or “amplitude” of the tricks, and 2 give marks for overall impression based totally on the diversity of tricks and the general flow.

Straight airs regularly involve grabbing the board in the air. Rotations involve vertical flips, horizontal spins. Extra points are awarded for “switch” tricks, which is when the snowboard is essentially riding backwards with their opposite foot going forward.

Judges subtract points for falls, contact with the snow, unsound body position, bad landings and slowing down. The rider’s best score of the 2 runs is counted, and the top 12 men and twelve girls qualify for the finals.

All snowboarders are required to wear helmets, especially in the half-pipe, where these athletes can soar up to 25 feet above the halfpipe deck. Snowboarders usually wear baggy clothing to permit free movement while riding. Snowboarding is also heavily influenced by style – not only do you have to ride your best, but you also have to look your best while doing it!

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