Snowboarding has lots of variants depending upon the rider, and each has it’s own equipment, technique and a particular surface to ride on. The types and styles of snowboarding simply give you the variety of ways you can glide through. Let’s understand it in a better way by exploring some of the styles of snowboarding in little more detail, which are as follows:
Freestyle is the most creative and popular style of snowboarding, in which the focus is more on jumps, tricks and thrills. In this style, the rider uses natural and artificial features like rail, halfpipe, boxes, and other bumps and blocks to perform aerial movements and tricks. Usually experts or professionals choose this style, because the tricks are mostly aerial. Mostly, the snowboards used for freestyle are lighter, shorter, and have similar shape of the tip and the tail (i.e. identical) of the snowboard. And the rider pairs the snowboard with softer boots for great movement and flexibility.
When the spins, flips or tricks are performed in a half tube of snow, then it is called as halfpipe snowboarding. It is a famous competitive type of snowboarding, where the rider enters from one side and slides to the other side and performs different tricks. The walls of the half-pipe surface are around 10-22 feet high, with slopes around 16 degrees, so that the rider can get the momentum. In short, we can say it has a u-shaped track, where you can perform amazing tricks. In halfpipe snowboarding, the first rider who scored a perfect 100 was Shaun White.
In slopestyle, the riders run through the course i.e. moving around the terrain which is full of obstacles like boxes, jibs, jumps, rails, etc., and perform different tricks around that. This style of snowboarding will let the rider show their creativity and consistency, which is quite challenging. If you want to win a slopestyle contest, then you must perform mistake-free tricks in the most difficult line in the terrain with smoothness i.e. this style is judged on the basis of difficulty, execution, and style. You must score high to win.
When the riders perform jumps and tricks on non-standard surfaces by using the freestyle snowboarding technique, then it is termed as jibbing. The riders simply jump, slide, and ride on top of the objects like rails, boxes, logs, benches, concrete, rocks, etc. (surfaces other than snow) either for fun or they are competing in an event. Usually, freestyle boards are used for snowboard jibbing, which means they are lighter, shorter, and flexible with identical shape of the tip and tail. This style is influenced by grinding a skateboard and mostly occurs in resort park. Jibbing, which is also termed as cruising, level up the snowboarding to have more fun, excitement, and adventure.
Alpine snowboarding is also recognized by the name freecarving and hardboot snowboarding (because hard boots are used for alpine snowboarding). This style is practiced in any condition but mostly practiced on hard-packed snow and groomed pistes. In this style, there are very less or almost no jumps and tricks and focus is more on carving turns at great speed. Alpine snowboarding is quite similar to skiing and surfing. While riding, the experts can take turns by placing their body very close to the ground that they can easily touch the snow-ground with their hands, which is spectacular. The boards used for alpine snowboarding are long, narrow and stiff, to get the carving linked turns more efficiently. Riders use hard-plastic boots with bail or step-in bindings, so that they’ll get less vibration while riding.
Freeride styles are practiced in natural and un-groomed terrains, in which no man-made features like rails, half pipes, logs, etc. are utilized. This style can be practiced at any place like backcountry, off-piste, side country, and sometimes on big mountains to handle all terrain and snow types. Just ride freely with your snowboard and tackle the natural challenges of the terrain. There are no set courses, goals, or rules to ride. The snowboards used for this style are directional, longer, and stiffer. Riders use stiffer boots and bindings when going out for freeride snowboarding. In this style, just enjoy and tackle the random flow of natural-terrain.
In big air events, riders use to perform big jumps and tricks after launching off the artificial jump built. The main focus of this style is to attain maximum height, do tricks and cover a good distance before landing smoothly. The rider is judged on the basis of difficulty, execution, and height-distance attained during the launch. Largest big air events in the world are the “Air and Style” competitions.
In Snowboard racing style, riders race down a course which has a series of turning indicators, in the fastest time to win the race-event. These turning indicators (in the form of gates) force the riders to make very quick tight turns. Some of the main snowboard racing events are: parallel giant slalom, parallel slalom, snowboard cross, super-G, and triple slalom. Be in the race, to enjoy this modification of snowboarding.
Snowboard cross (SBX) style was originally called as bordercross (or border-X), and is a competitive racing type of snowboarding. In snowboard cross, number of riders race down a course with a variety of artificial features like jumps, rollers, banked turns, etc. As all the riders use the same terrain, so the chances of accidental collision is there.
The main purpose of this race event is to test the rider’s control and balance at the maximum speed. The first rider who reaches the end of the course is the winner.
Apart from that, there are many other styles of snowboarding, like: splitboarding, powder snowboarding, heli-boarding, freecarve, backcountry snowboarding, and many more. All these styles are played as a sport as well as recreational. But among all of them freestyle, alpine, jibbing and snowboard racing are the most common styles.