Olympic Sports >> Snowboarding


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Parallel giant slalom

The aim is to slide down a steep pre-defined piste on a snowboard as fast as possible while successfully negotiating strategically placed gates.


Snowboarders ski back and forth down a course designed in the form of a half-cylinder and perform aerial tricks on the rim of the pipe.


Parallel giant slalom

The competition is divided into two events for men and women. During the qualifying round, all competitors take one individual run down the course, with the top 16 athletes advancing to the second phase, which is a knockout competition.

Knockout rounds

Pairings are based on qualifying times, with 1 racing against 16, 2 against 15 and so on.

Each knockout round is based on two sudden-death head-to-head runs. In the event , with overall times deciding the winner in the event that each racer wins one heat.

Competitors switch sides of the course after the first heat.

If a racer fails to complete the first run or is disqualified, he/she is assigned his : opponent's time, plus 5 % of the best qualifying time.

If a competitor fails to complete the second run, his opponent is declared the winner regardless of what happened during the first run.

If both competitors fail to complete the second run, the competitor who negotiated the most gates during the second run is declared the winner. Semi-final winners compete for the gold medal, while the losers compete for the bronze.

The Competition


Parallel giant slalom

A competition in which two riders on stiff alpine snowboards race down the same slope on two parallel courses, negotiating gates as they try and clock up a quicker time than their rival.


Riders glide into a course designed in the form of a half-cylinder and perform aerial tricks off the rim of the pipe. They are judged on their jumps.

Snowboard cross

A no fear speed event that features groups of four racing down a steep challenging course littered with jumps and hills.

6 Events (3 for men, 3 for women)

Parallel giant slalom (men and women), Half-pipe (m/w), Snowboard Cross (m/w)


Cypress Mountain

Competition dates

Feb. 15, 16, 17, 18, 26 and 27

The Events

Parallel giant slalom

A qualifying round with 2 heats. Competitors race 2 by 2 during the qualifying round, swapping piste for the second race and with the 16 competitors with the fastest combined times advancing to the knock-out phase which is also competed over two runs and the fastest combined time declared the winner. Racing order is in accordance with qualifying times....1 v 16, 2 v 15, 3 v 14 etc. The skier who lost the first run starts second in accordance to the time gap from which he lost the first run. The first skier across the line of the second run wins.


5 judges award notes out of 10 taking into consideration moves and jumps performed individually by the competitors. For men, a qualifying round of two runs determines 6 finalists from 2 groups with just the best run counting. The top three from two groups for men go automatically into the final. The riders 4 to 9 in each group and riders 7 to 18 battle it out in the semi-finals to join six more finalists. For women, there is just one group. The final is over 2 runs with the best score determining the gold medal.


A qualifying round against the clock over 2 runs. The top 32 advance. Races then take place in groups of four with the top two advancing to the next round until the final when the winner takes gold.

Important Dates

  • Sixties: American Sherman Poppen attaches two skis together for his young daughter. It is the birth of the snowboard, then known as a "snurfer".
  • 1970 : Dimitri Milovich, an American aerodynamic engineer, designs a snowboard, based on the concept of a surfboard.
  • 1983 : First world championships are held in the United States.
  • 1987 : The World Cup circuit is created, with two events in the United States and two in Europe.
  • 1990 : Founding of the International Snowboard Federation (ISF).
  • 1994 : The International Ski Federation creates its own snowboard circuit, leading to two rival competitions.
  • 1994 : With the benediction of IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, snowboarding obtains its passport for the Olympic Games and becomes an official sport at Nagano in 1998.
  • 1998 : At the inaugural Olympic tournament, Canada's Ross Rebagliati tests positive for cannabis, is briefly stripped of his giant slalom gold before having it re-instated.
  • 2002 : At the Salt Lake Games, the parallel giant slalom replaced the giant slalom.
  • 2004 : Bordercross is added to the Olympic agenda and makes its debut in 2006 at Turin.


Karine Ruby (FRA)

Landed Olympic gold in the giant slalom at the 1998 Nagano Games and finished second in the inaugeral parallel giant slalom at Salt Lake 2002. Six-time world champion (3 boardercross, 2 giant slalom and 1 parallel slalom) and an excellent all-rounder. Also won six World Cup overall titles between 1996 and 2003.

Ross Rebagliati (CAN))

Haunted by scandal at Nagano. Ross Rebagliati of Canada was the sport's first Olympic champion, before having his gold medal taken away following a positive test for cannabis. Was reinstated and is a symbol for the sport as one of its rebels.

Philipp Schoch (SWI)

The king of the Games with two Olympic titles in the parallel giant slalom in 2002 and 2006. He has also racked up silver medals at the world championships in the slalom and giant parallel as well as the overall World Cup crown in 2005.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.