Boardercross (also Boarder X or BX) is a snowboard competition in which a group of snowboarders (typically four or six) start simultaneously atop a winding, inclined course and race to reach the finish line first. Following the initial timed seeding runs, races are run as untimed elimination heats, quarter-finals and semi-finals - where the fastest half of the field progress to the next round - until placings are decided in the final.
The name of the sport is derived from motocross, as the course designs are similar in features to motocross courses. Boardercross courses are typically quite narrow and include cambered turns, various types of jumps, berms, rollers, drops, steep and flat sections designed to challenge the riders' ability to stay in control while maintaining maximum speed. Due to the tightness of some boardercross courses, it is not uncommon for racers to collide with each other mid-race.
The first ever Boardercross event was held in the spring of 1991 at Blackcomb Mt. in the Whistler-Blackcomb resort of British Columbia. Steve Rechtschaffner and Greg Stump staged the event, to film as the final episode of their "Greg Stump's World of Extremes" TV show they were producing for FOX TV. The idea, format and rules for the event came from Rechtschaffner, along with the designing and building of the course. Stump's business manager John Graham coined the term "Boardercross", which everyone adopted. Rechtschaffner then went on to help build courses for people across North America for the next few years, helping to spread the reach and popularity of the event. Later, Erik Kalacis staged the first professional Boardercross series, called The Kokanee Cross, in Canada. Some years after, Rechtschaffner took inspiration from Boardercross to create the multi-million selling hit series of SSX video games for Electronic Arts.
Boardercross was part of the Winter X Games from 1997-2012. At the X Games, the sport was originally referred to as Boarder X. Following negative public reaction to the event's cancellation for 2013, it returned in 2014.
Boardercross became a Winter Olympic sport in 2006. In Olympic and International Ski Federation (FIS) sanctioned competition, the sport is referred to as Snowboard Cross or SBX by the official organisers. When the FIS (the international governing body for ski and snowboard sports) assumed control of Olympic snowboarding events, they chose the term Snowboard Cross as their preferred moniker. This is largely due to the language barrier; when boardercross is translated into the FIS's native French and back again, Snowboard Cross emerged as a literal translation. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Olympic and FIS competitors still personally refer to their sport as boardercross.
The term boardercross is also used in the context of mountainboarding, referring to similar races on dirt courses with similar features.
The earlier releases in the EA SportsSSX (Snowboard Supercross) series of video games were loosely based on boardercross. The games are very much arcade-style video games, not a simulation game, focusing more on unrealistic tricks and larger-than-life courses. The Executive Producer for the SSX Series was Steve Rechtschaffner, who had also created the Boardercross concept and first events.