Snowboarding Contests in Canada: What You Need to Know
November 14, 20236 min read
Canadian Snowboard Competitions
Written by Ryan Ahmed
Snowboarding is widely embraced as one of Canada's most beloved winter sports. It's also one of the newest winter sports - only starting in 1979 and beoming an Olympic sport at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
Now, 44 years later, Canada hosts a plethora of snowboarding contests each year. These contests are more than competitions; they are celebrations of a sport that has captured the hearts of countless individuals. In this blog, we'll be your compass through the thrilling world of snowboarding in the true north strong and free!
Types of Snowboarding Disciplines
Snowboarding contests can be categorized into two primary types: freestyle and alpine. Freestyle events refers to the mastery of tricks and jumps executed on a variety of features like rails, boxes, halfpipes, and slopestyle courses. On the other hand, alpine events involve racing down a course - typically mostly on the ground.
These categories of events are further divided into the following disciplines:
Freeride: Our favourite event, freeriding is a style of snowboarding where there is no marked run, instead the rider relies on being creative with the natural terrain of the mountain. Freeride snowboarding is also sometimes called backcountry snowboarding or sidecountry snowboarding. Our Flamingo snowboard is designed for these events.
Freestyle - Halfpipe: In this judged event, riders perform high-risk tricks on a U-shaped ramp with vertical walls. The judges' scores are based on a variety of factors, including the run's sequence of tricks, the run's level of risk, and the rider's use of the pipe.
Freestyle - Big Air: Similar to Halfpipe, this event is judged. Each rider approaches a single jump, also known as a 'kicker', where tricks are performed in the air, and the rider lands on a slope that's about 30 degrees. The judges award points for overall impression, which includes style, level of risk, and, of course, a clean landing.
Freestyle - Slopestyle: This new discipline to the World Cup circuit, a one-on-one competition on a course with lots of big jumps, different terrain and rails. The riders have to go from jump to jump without stopping, and the judges are looking for the same things they look for in a halfpipe.
Alpine - Parallel Giant Slalom:The parallel giant slalom pits competitors against each other in a head-to-head competition.
Alpine - Parallel Slalom:A race similar to the Parallel Giant Slalom - just at lower speeds and closer gates.
Snowboardcross:In this Olympic discipline, riders race around a course with banked turns, changes in the terrain, and jumps. It's a tough test of a rider's skills – and nerves.
Para-Snowboardcross:This time trial event features a similar course to that of an able-bodied Snowboardcross Event but with some modifications to the terrain features. It combines race-like elements with freestyle elements while challenging riders regardless of their disabilities.
There are a multitude of snowboarding contests in Canada that you can participate and compete in. Here are some of the featured ones that you cannot miss!
Freeride World Tour: The pinnacle of skiing and snowboarding, the Freeride World Tour is where the best of the best travel around the world to compete on some of the most legendary slopes. In Canada, there is only one competition, the 2024 KICKING HORSE GOLDEN BC PRO, located at - you guessed it - Kicking Horse Resort. It takes place from February 13th to 19th, 2024. Along with the Freeride World Tour, there are Freeride World Qualifiers (FWQ), the Freeride World Tour Junior (FWTJ), and the Freeride World Tour Challenger (FWTC) events. The FWQs are competitions where athletes gain points to hopefully make the FWT - for the FWQs there are over 60 different events across the world. As of right now, the 2023/24 Canadian events haven't been announced. The FWTJ is dedicated to young athletes of up to 18 years of age to develop their talents and encourage youth participation in the sport. Lastly, as of 2022, there is the FWTC event, which is a competition where potential Freeride World Tour athletes can compete for a spot on the tour by challenging the lowest-ranked FWT athletes.
The Style Experience: This Style Experience is an FIS World Cup' Stadium' big air competition! This contest will be the first stop on the "Shred The North Series" of World Cups, run by Snowboard Canada. The event is held at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium on December 9th, featuring some of the world's best snowboarders competing for points and prizes ranging from cash rewards to gear packages and sponsor giveaways. Plus, there's live music, entertainment and fun for the whole family. It's open to anyone with an FIS license and meets the qualification criteria, and it's run in two runs with the best score from each rider going into the final ranking. And if you win an online video contest, you get a wildcard spot!
Air Nation Freestyle Tour:The Air Nation Freestyle Tour showcases Canada’s best junior and senior snowboarders competing in slopestyle, halfpipe, and big air. It’s Canada’s top freestyle snowboarding tour, and it’s a chance for riders to earn FIS World Cup points and qualify for the Olympic Games. There are a number of locations set for this years tour, including Sun Peaks Resort (Sun Peaks, British Columbia), WinSport (Calgary, Alberta), The Blue Mountains (Ontario), Horseshoe Resort (Barrie, Ontario) and Stoneham Mountain Resort (Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, Quebec). The contest features events in which riders compete on a custom-built slopestyle course, on one of North America’s best halfpipes, and also for the national titles. Participation in the Air Nation Freestyle Tour is open to all Canada Snowboard members and international riders with valid FIS licenses. Cash prizes are offered to the top three riders in each category, and medals and trophies to the overall winners. Additionally, it's a valuable experience for young riders as they get the opportunity to learn from pros.
3-4 Air Nation events
1 Air Nation Freestyle Nationals event
Slopestyle (Men & Women)
Halfpipe (Men & Women)
Big Air (Men & Women)
Speed Nation SBX Tour: Speed Nation SBX is Canada's fastest and most exciting snowboardcross series for junior and senior riders. The boardercross course is the heart of the event. Here, competitors compete head-on on a downhill course that includes jumps, banked corners, rollers and other obstacles. The goal isn’t just to be the quickest down the course, it’s to strategically navigate these obstacles to keep both speed and control. There are four total stops in the 2023/2024 tour, with the first three including Sunshine Village (Banff, Alberta), Big White Snow Resort (Kelowna, British Columbia), Big White Snow Resort (Kelowna, British Columbia) and Ontario (exact location TBD). The final stop is Val St Come Snow Resort (Rue Val St Côme, Quebec), where riders can compete for the national championship in both individual and team snowboardcross. The tour is open to Canadian riders who are part of Canada Snowboard and international riders with valid FIS licenses.
3 Speed Nation SBX events
1 Speed Nation SBX Nationals event
Snowboardcross (Men & Women)
Speed Nation Alpine Tour: The Speed Nation Alpine Tour brings snowboarderson a thrilling journey through the heart of Canada's alpine snowboarding scene. The locations for the 2023/2024 are yet to be announced, but make sure to check out Canada Snowboard’s website for when they release! The Speed Nation Alpine Tour is a showcase of precision, speed and raw mountain strength. The contest features a format that pushes riders to their limits as they race down the slopes at breakneck speeds. Each event is a test of technique, control and fearless determination. The goal isn’t just to complete the course; it’s to master every corner and carve your way to victory.
3 Speed Nation SBX events
1 Speed Nation SBX Nationals event
Parallel Slalom (Men & Women)
Parallel Giant Slalom (Men & Women)
We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and found it useful. If you are interested in snowboarding contests, don’t forget to check out Canada Snowboard for information and updates on their latest and upcoming; and of course, if you're shopping for a board, check out our Flamingo's!
Gregory Louie, Doctor of Physical Therapy (aka @the_ski_pt on Insta) discusses some simple ski exercises and workouts you can do to help prevent knee injuries this season! Greg specializes in building ski-specific strength & conditioning programs and helping injured skiers with their rehab. His unique niche has given opportunities for him to work with the U.S. Ski Team as a volunteer medical provider.