Who hasn’t raced a bunch of friends down the mountain, trying to get to the bottom first? Now imagine watching the same race but with some of the best snowboarders in the world.
What has been an informal race since bear-trap bindings and lace boots is now a sanctioned, worldwide competition for snowboarders and skiers called snowboard cross and skier cross respectively. The riders’ version of the sport comes to Telluride Ski Resort Dec. 14-17 for four days of racing in individual and team snowboard cross, and individual parallel giant slalom. The racing is sanctioned by FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski), and the Telluride event is the second snowboard cross stop of the six-race season, and the second of four parallel giant slalom events on the World Cup tour.
The competition begins Dec. 14 with snowboard cross qualifying for men and women on Lower Misty Maiden, right above the Mountain Village. On Dec. 15, qualifying and finals go on for parallel giant slalom a bit farther up the hill on Upper Misty Maiden.
The next day, individual riders go at it for the U.S. Snowboarders Cup championship in snowboard cross, also on Lower Misty Maiden. Then, on Dec. 17, the competition wraps up with the team snowboard cross competition.
All race courses can be accessed by the Village Express chairlift, which loads right out of the Mountain Village. The mountain management has installed new snowmaking pedestals along Lower Misty Maiden to assure quality snow cover for the competition.
Snowboard cross became an Olympic sport in 2006, after a decade-long run in the Winter X Games. Competitors run down a course that includes banked turns, terrain changes and jumps. They progress through a series of elimination rounds to the finals.
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