If you love snow sports, chances are you’re keen to attend the Winter X Games 2013. Held in Tignes, France from March 20th to 22nd, these give you a unique opportunity to see some of the top athletes for freestyle and freeriding snowboarding and skiing. Since they’re happening next month, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of the events you shouldn’t miss.
Before I start, I should point out that the official schedule has not been released yet (or it hadn’t when I wrote this, anyway!), so I can’t give you exact dates or times for each. What I will do, though, is give you a run-through of the main events and how each works, including handy information like how riders are judged.
Each event has a women’s round and a men’s round. Typically, the men’s will begin will an elimination round to narrow the contestants down (which will usually be the best of two runs) and then a final that’s judged out of the best of three runs. The women’s will be broadly the same, with the exception that there is usually no elimination session.
Let’s start by taking a look at the Snowboard Slopestyle event. Whether the contestant is snowboarding or skiing (though obviously in this case it’ll be the former!), this event is designed to test a rider’s skills on a variety of terrain.
The slope is peppered with a mix of obstacles and apparatus, including tabletops, hips, rails and a mix of different jumps. What I think is so exciting about this event in particular is that it gives riders a chance to show off their aerial skills – so, for you and me, that means some particularly spectacular viewing.
In this event, riders are judged on a number of criteria, including difficulty, landings, use of the course and execution.
The Ski Slopestyle event is very similar in spirit, but there are a couple of differences that I’ll just outline for you quickly. The first is in the kinds of features the course has; for skiing, the slopestyle course normally has a combination of kickers, rails, jumps and gaps.
In terms of how the competition is judged, contestants need to impress on several counts. Style, trick completion and creativity are among the top criteria.
This next event is often described as one of the most exciting in the snow sports world – so whatever you do, don’t miss it! During the Snowboard SuperPipe, riders tackle a world-class U-shaped pipe that’s designed to maximise their time in the air for the highest and most amazing tricks, including mind-blowing spins and grabs.
Each rider takes their turn to prove their prowess when it comes to amazing aerial skills. The criteria each competitor is judged on as they battle it out to be the best at the X Games is similar to the Slopestyle – but there are differences. This time, riders will be ranked according to landings, difficulty and execution.
As you’ve no doubt guessed, the Ski SuperPipe has plenty of parallels with the snowboarding event. One of the key differences is that the pipe used for this is a bit bigger – but the criteria used to judge the event are the same.
Just to finish up, I’d like to add that there’s a lot else going on over this two-day event. For example, it’s known for its awesome parties – some of which last all night – while the X Fest at the Val Claret snow front offers plenty of other entertainment. If you’re still in the process of planning your trip, you can find decent accommodation through the Snowchateaux website.