SnowboardingAdventurous, Challenging, Awesome
Snowboarding Signals Growth
In 2016 the Royal Signals trained more people to Snowboard than any other cap badge
With its trendy but tough and challenging image it’s easy to why Snowboarding is one of the fastest growing winter sports in the Army. With 3 different diciplines Boardercross, Parallel Slalom and Slopestyle it’s never a dull moment. Last year approximately 150 members of the Corps, from Signaller to Lt Col participated in Ex MERCURY SNOWRIDER 16, easily matching skiing in popularity.
A great leveller of a sport it appeals to men and women, soldiers and officers alike. Of all the winter sports it’s probably the one that is especially attractive to the younger members of The Corps but we can’t deny the older and bolder enjoy giving it go, and often their prowess is a real eye-opener.
Never trodden the board before?
The good news – snowboarding is probably the easiest winter sport to pick up, with novices carving their edges and tackling the more challenging conditions faster than their two-planker, twin-tip brethren. We’re not saying it’s easy; Snowboarding is certainly no walk in the snowboard park but the physically demanding, work-hard element is one of the reasons it appeals so readily to today’s signallers.
In 2017 our aim is to encourage and train even more Soldiers – regular and reserves – to take to the slopes. If you have a thirst for adventure and are keen to learn new skills get in touch now.
Competition? That’s the very name of our game
Do you have the edge?
With so many soldiers participating – novices and seasoned veterans – we are already competing at Army level, in both male and female categories.
Preparation for The Corps Team is now underway with excellent talent drawn from Ex MERCURY SNOWRIDER 16.
Snowboarding styles and competitions
Keys to competing well
A strong pull out of the gate and incredible board skills.
The best Boardercrossers are athletic animals with the grace and finesse of a ballet dancer… Seriously though, being able to accelerate through rollers and pick the fastest line is actually very difficult when you’re racing against people who practice doing just that.You must learn to absorb with minimal speed loss any obstacle and generate speed from pumping and pushing out of terrain and turns in any way you can.
- Don’t over-edge through turns. The quickest rider through any turn is the one who can hold a fast line through the turn with the least edge pressure. Think about that – It’s about aggressive finesse.
- Take immaculate care of your board. You need every advantage you can get and a fast board, or even the fastest board will help.
- Go fast and DBS (don’t be scared)!
What is Boardercross?
Competition for those passionate about riding and racing
Boardercross is a sibling to motocross and BMX racing. Made up mostly of all-round free-riding fanatics, who love to ride and race, Boardercross is an intense competition for truly passionate boarders.
Jump, pump, step-down, step-up
Typically between four and six racers line up in a start gate positioned at the top of a Boardercross track.The track has rollers to jump or pump, turns with gates, table top jumps, step downs, step ups, and a hair-raising spine set up directly across the fall-line, among other speed and line manipulating features. They wait, pumping their arms and legs, fired up ready to launch, clenching the pull start at the gate they all hope for the crucial Hole shot. To be the first rider to the first turn, then to put every last ounce of energy into staying in front. If you don’t get that Hole shot, you are on the chase looking for any opportunity to soar past the riders in front of you. It is adrenaline pumping, heart pounding excitement for the hardy, thrill-seeking, talented boarder.
Twin courses one winner
In parallel events: parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom-two, competitors ride simultaneously side by side down two courses, which are configured and prepared so they are as identical as possible – posing the same challenges for each competitor. The left course (looking from the top) is set with red gate poles and flags, the right course is set with blue poles and flags. Courses are set to have a variety of turns and to cause changes in rhythm.
Parallel slalom courses are between 80 and 120 meters long, with an average steepness of 17 to 22 degrees and a distance between gates of 11 to 13 meters. These courses typically have 25 to 32 gates, with the first gate located 8 to 10 meters from the start. The distance between the two parallel slalom courses, from turning pole to turning pole, is between 5 and 8 meters.
Parallel giant slalom courses are 120 to 200 meters long, with a distance between gates of 20 to 25 meters. The number of turns on a parallel giant slalom course is somewhere between 11 and 15 percent of the vertical drop in meters on the course. The first gate is 8 to 10 meters from the start, and the distance between the two parallel giant slalom courses, from turning pole to turning pole, is between 7 and 12 meters.
Each race between two competitors consists of two runs, with each competitor going once on each course.
Snowboard Giant Slalom was one of the first events to join the Winter Olympics when snowboarding became one of the core sports in 1998. Its Olympic appearances were few as just four years later it was dropped in favour of the Parallel Giant Slalom.
Slopestyle Snowboarding Competition is one of the most popular and highly participated in events in snowboarding. The first Slopestyle events took place as recently as 15 years ago. Before that the closest thing to a Slopestyle was the occasional big air event or maybe a rail-jam once in a while. Today, there are many Slopestyle events all across the country. Most Slopestyle events are held within a resorts terrain park and are basically a freestyle skills contest.
How do you win, or lose?
Most often the event is made up of a practice session, followed by the entire field taking two judged runs. The best score of the two runs will be used for ranking. In bigger events, there may be a cut performed to select finalists to compete in a second round final. A panel of between three and five judges, judge performances on skills and creativity using either a 1-10 or 1-100 scale. The rider’s score is the sum of the judges scores.
Judges score each rider based on:
- Flow – How fluid is the rider in line choice, execution of manoeuvres, landing and movement through the course.
- Creativity – How well does the rider make creative and artistic use of the course.
- Technical difficulty – How hard are the moves and how well are they being performed.
- Style – The most hard to describe, but the most important – how the performance looks to others, grace, flair, panache.
EX Mercury Snowrider 17