Para Snowboard is practiced worldwide and features three disciplines: snowboard-cross, banked slalom and giant slalom. Athletes combine speed and agility while racing down courses as fast as possible.
Competition includes male and female athletes with a physical impairment such as spinal injury, cerebral palsy and amputation.
Athletes compete in three categories based on their functional ability – SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 for lower-limb impaired riders and SB-UL for upper-limb impaired athletes.
Snowboarders use equipment that is adapted to their needs including snowboard and orthopaedic aids.
World Para Snowboard (until 2016: IPC Snowboard) acts as the International Federation for the sport which is coordinated by the World Para Snowboard Sport Technical Committee.
Ten medal events are on provisionally the Paralympic programme, with the exact events to be confirmed by the IPC Governing Board ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
The sport made its debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games with two medal events in women’s and men’s snowboard-cross.
Each athlete competes three runs down the course with their best run determining the final order based on ascending time. There is only one rider on the course at a time. The course may be a medium pitched slope. It may be preferably a naturally varying terrain, with plenty of bumps and dips, and preferably a U-shape/natural valley
During qualification, each athlete completes three runs down the course with their best run determining the final order based on ascending time. There is only one rider on the course at a time during qualification.
Finals consist of 16 men and eight women, with two competitors per heat or such other numbers as determined by the Jury. The ideal snowboard-cross may allow the construction of any features excluding: gap jumps, corner jumps, spines and double spines, cutting banks, giant slalom turns and negative banks.
Each athlete competes three runs down the course with their best run determining the final order based on ascending time. There is only one rider on the course at a time. As with head-to-head, the event takes place on a man-made course constructed from a variety of terrain features like bank turns. The course design is also the same as head-to-head.
Each athlete competes two runs down the course with the combined time determining the final order. There is only one rider on the course at a time. General characteristics and terrain of the course include a medium pitched slope, preferably with various grades. The course may be perfectly groomed and the snow surface may be compacted.
Para Snowboard was initially governed by the World Snowboard Federation (WSF), but after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2010, it was taken under IPC Alpine Skiing with a view to continue working with the WSF to develop the sport. In 2016, the sport has been renamed and rebranded from IPC Snowboard to World Para Snowboard. At the moment, World Para Snowboard also has a co-operation agreement with FIS collaborating on the development and technical aspects.
The sport owes its success to the determination of a group of pioneering riders who in 2005 began their quest to have the sport included at the Paralympic Winter Games.
After many years of campaigning, in 2012 it was announced that snowboard would make its debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games with two medal events in lower-limb impairment classifications for men and women in snowboard-cross time trial.
A hugely successful debut which attracted worldwide media interest saw the Netherlands’ Bibian Mentel-Spee secure the women’s gold whilst US rider Evan Strong took the men’s.
This thrust snowboard onto the global stage and in 2015, the first IPC Snowboard World Championships were held in La Molina, Spain. Here, banked slalom and snowboard-cross head-to-head were contested for the first time, whilst the lower-limb impaired classifications were split and upper-limb impaired riders also competed for coveted world titles.
The 2015 World Championships saw the culmination of ongoing improvements to the classification system, including the separation of lower-limb impaired riders to SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 which was introduced during the 2014-15 season. Visit the classification pages to find out more.
The competition calendar has also been expanded and now takes in some of the best locations around the world for World Cups and Europa Cups, and most recently for 2015-16 North America and Asia Cups.
In 2015, the IPC Governing Board provisionally increased the Paralympic medal events for PyeongChang 2018 to 10 from the two seen at Sochi 2014, including six for men and four for women. The full medal programme will be announced in the years before the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
The sport is expanding into Asia ahead of PyeongChang 2018 and the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games with new Asia Cup competitions, where giant slalom will also make its debut.