Image credit- Team GB
Snowboarding emerged in the 1960s, and became an Olympic discipline in 1998. As opposed to winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding gives the athletes freedom to be more creative, as freestyle snowboarding first emerged in the backcountry and streets.
It later developed into 3 main official disciplines. These include “Big Air”, where an athlete has to do 1 big jump. “Slopestyle”, where there is a combination of features, usually differently shaped rails and straight or inclined kickers for the set of jumps, and then we have ‘Half Pipe’, which consists of several jumps from both sides of the artificially created take off in the form of the halfpipe.
One of the most recognisable accomplishments in the Team GB snowboarding team was Billy Morgan, who won a bronze medal in the men’s Big Air Winter Olympics 2018.
However, GB is also well represented in Slopestyle discipline by Jamie Nicholls, who won a gold medal in the 2016 World Cup.
Snowboarding was historically pushed and innovated by men, yet Britain has a notable team of female athletes. In the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Jenny Jones won the bronze in Slopestyle. Not only this, but the UK is also the home to one of the current most successful female snowboarders in the world – Katie Ormerod. She started training in the local snow domes and dry slopes of West Yorkshire and in 2014, aged 16, she made history by being the first girl to land a Backside Double Cork 1080.
The purpose of the Burton’s Chill foundation is to ‘inspire youth to overcome challenges through boardsports’. They promise to provide a free of charge training programme to socially deprived children, in bid to help them reach their potential in both snowboarding.
It is safe to conclude that snowsports are often considered as a luxury activity, because of the necessary high expenses of going to the mountains and ski resorts. However, professional athletes from the UK signify that the elementary training can be done from your local ski/snowboarding centre and youth programmes, sponsored by known sports brands. This therefore makes snowboarding an empowering, accessible, fun sport for all fearless men and women.