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Snowboarding, XX Winter Olympic Games Torino 2006

Snowboarding is an increasingly common winter sport throughout the world where participants strap a composite board to their feet and slide down a snow-covered mountain. Events that focus on snowboarding are the annual U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship and the Winter X-Games. These events are hosted by varying winter resorts in the United States and Canada.

EVENTS

Snowboarding at the 2006 Winter Olympics will be held in Melezet, a frazione southwest of the town of Bardonecchia, Italy from February 12 to February 23. Bardonecchia is connected by the autostrada A32 Torino - Bardonecchia, SS 24 road, or through the Frejus tunnel and the Modane-Lyon-Paris motorway from France. In Bardonecchia there is also a railway station along the Torino-Parigi line. Olympic shuttles will function from the city center and station to the Melezet area.

HISTORY

Snowboarding is a boardsport on snow similar to skiing, but came about as an idea for a combination of surfing and skateboarding. The snowboard was not invented by one person, but rather evolved into what we know it as today through the hard work and innovation of many pioneers, including Sherman Poppen who invented the "Snurfer" in his North Muskegon, Michigan home as well as Tom Sims, and Jake Burton. Snowboarding became a Winter Olympic Games medal eligible sport in 1998.

SNOWBOARDING DISCIPLINES

There are four primary sub-disciplines or sub-styles within snowboarding with each favoring a slightly different snowboard design.

  • Freeride: The object in freeride is simply to have fun cruising down the mountain. The majority of snowboarders reside within this sub-style category. Freeride is also known as all-mountain snowboarding. Another variant of Freeriding is extreme snowboarding. Freeride snowboarding, where the focus is on making clean lines in the snow, is influenced significantly by surfing.

  • Freestyle: Describes snowboarders who prefer to spend most of their time getting air using ramps and half-pipes. Typically, a wider and shorter snowboard between 130 and 160 centimeters is combined with softer boots to afford the rider with more flexibility. This sub-discipline is influenced greatly by skateboarding and has shown to be the most popular and well-known style of snowboarding.
  • Alpine: There aren't very many people involved in the Alpine sub-discipline. Alpine snowboarders use longer, narrow boards, often with a rectangular tail, and hard-shelled boots which resemble ski boots. Another new discipline of alpine boarding is extreme carving which pushes carving to the limit, so that the whole body gets in contact with the snow. The alpine board is designed primarily for carving fast down pistes, with both feet angled sharply forward.

  • Backcountry: This type of boarding started out with fresh powder-craving snowboarders. In fact, before snowboarding was allowed at resorts, this was the only form of snowboarding. Today, backcountry snowboarding is often for those who have enough to cash to afford trips to Alaska or the mountain ranges of the US West.
  • Snowboard Cross: Snowboardcross is a development of snowboard made of acrobatic and alpine techniques and motocross, and will make its Olympic debut at the Torino 2006 Games. The competition course is made up of different sections with: whoops, waves, banks, spine, kickers and includes variety of terrains and obstacles, with blue and red gates and triangular flags marking the course.

    In the first two qualification runs, the athletes compete individually, then the 32 athletes with the best times are admitted to the finals and compete in turns of four riders. The first two athletes to reach the finishing line in each turn proceed to the next stage, until the winners and the final rank are established.

  • SNOWBOARDING EQUIPMENT

      A snowboard, boots specific for riding this snowboard, bindings to attach their boots to this board, as well as winter clothing.
    • Boards: The snowboards used in the different disciplines come in different styles. Longer boards achieve higher speed and stability, shorter boards turn easier and are more suited for freestyle jumps. A flexible board can carve in tighter curves, but begins to wobble at higher speeds. Flexibility is generally determined by the board construction.
    • Bindings: There are two different categories of binding for use with two different kinds of boots, soft boots and hard shell boots. The most commonly used type are soft boot bindings, in the form of strap-in, step-in or the Flow system. Most recreational users and all freestyle riders use these. Plate bindings are for use with hard shell boots, generally on an alpine or race board. Alpine racers, extreme carvers and some Boarder Cross racers use these.
    • Boots: Snowboard boots come in two main types, soft boots and hard boots. Soft boots have similarities to winter boots and a relatively comfortable, flexible feel that provides the forgiveness necessary for landing jumps and balancing on rails. Generally, hard boots are used for alpine carving and racing, whereas soft boots are used in freestyle and freeride.

    [the text above is derived from Wikipedia and is subject to the GNU licence]
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