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Dropping in hot on the snowboard crowd

21 February 2018

SNOWBOARD: When Big Air made its Olympic debut at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games, it brought the snowboarding disciplines at the global event up to 10.

With gravity-defying tricks and impressive style from the athletes, snowboard is one of the Olympics’ most popular sports among spectators on the ground and at home.

Want to watch the women’s Big Air final on Thursday and impress your mates with your expert knowledge of the sport?

Australian snowboard halfpipe athlete Emily Arthur is here to help. Read her guide to the top 10 terms you might hear from commentators during the Big Air competition, or around the halfpipe and slopestyle course. 

Amplitude: The height a rider gets off a jump (or kicker) or off the halfpipe walls. Amplitude is measured on each hit – or trick – that a rider does in the halfpipe while it is assessed overall for slopestyle riders.

Cork: When the athlete does an ‘off-axis’ rotation.

Dropping in: When the athlete is at the top of the mountain ready to go, they ‘drop in’ to the halfpipe or slopestyle course to commence training or competition.

Gnarly: Can be positive or negative, but usually refers to tough conditions or competition. If it is a particularly windy day, some might say ‘it is gnarly out there’.

Grab: The way a rider grabs their board as they complete a trick, which is an element the judges score on in terms of style. There are different names for different grabs based on which part of the board is being grabbed.

Kicker:  A jump in a slopestyle course that riders use to get amplitude to complete twisting and somersault style tricks.

Knuckle: The top of the landing zone on a jump. When an athlete flies off a kicker, they will land on the downhill of the landing zone – the top of this hill is the knuckle and is where coaches may position themselves during training to guide the athlete through their tricks.

Stomp it: A phrase of encouragement said at the start of a run. An athlete ‘stomps it’ when they land a clean run.

Switch: Riding backwards. The athlete’s back is pointed toward the bottom of the halfpipe or slope and they approach the kickers, the tricks and rails backwards. 

Transition: The curved edge of the halfpipe wall between the flat standing section on the sides, and the vertical portion of the walls where snowboarders ride.

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