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Boardercross competition
Snowboarders in boardercross competition.

Boardercross is a snowboard competition in which a four to six snowboarders race down a course. 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. It is not uncommon for racers to collide with each other mid-race.

Competition format is typically a time trial followed by a knock-out tournament.[1]


The concept for "ski cross" originated from Jim "Too Tall" Essick of Recreational Sports Marketing in the late 1980's. Essick came up with this idea that would make ski racing more exciting for spectators. Using a format similar to Nascar and Motocross, Essick envisioned placing four skiers on a course simultaneously, letting them race head-to-head on course that combined jumps and gates. Essick and his business partner at Recreational Sports Marketing, Diana Schulz, pitched the idea for this event to several companies (calling it "Quattro Racing," as they initially tried to sell the concept to Audi as a promotional vehicle for the Audi Quattro). The concept was also pitched and a written proposal was presented to Swatch Watch, who later became interested in the format for snowboarding. That sport is now known as Boardercross.

When Steven Rechtschaffner and partner Greg Stump at Swatch had run out of ideas for segments for a TV show they were producing called Greg Stump’s World of Extremes for FoxTV they recalled this concept that had been in Rechtschaffner’s head for years. Although the concept had originally been pitched as something to do on skis, he thought that sharp poles in close proximity would be too dangerous (that fear in now irrelevant, see Skiercross). Given the need to come up with a last segment, Rechtschaffner, now a passionate snowboarder, pitched the idea to Stump who loved it and Blackcomb Mt. who put up prize money and snowcat time in order to build the 1st ever course. John Graham, who was Stump’s Business Manager at the time was credited with coming up with the name Boardercross. After being seen on the Fox TV show and re-aired on MTV Sports, other people started putting on Boardercross events in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Rechtschaffner travelled to many of these events in order to help others learn how to build the Boardercross courses. Much of the growth of the sport came when Eric Kalacis, who had been a freestyle skiers years previous with Rechtschaffner and Stump began producing the Kokanee Kross series of Boardercross events and Swatch World Boardercross tour. Rechtschaffner had trademarked the name Boardercross primarily as a way to make sure that when people put on the event that they did it in a positive way that was safe, exciting and respectful to the world of snowboarding. For these same reasons he denied the ski sanctioning body F.I.S. the rights to use the Boardercross name as he did not believe that a ski sanctioning body should be in charge of snowboarding events. That’s why Boardercross is referred to as “Snowboard Cross” in the Olympics, although most of the racers still refer to it as Boardercross. In the year 2000 Rechtschaffner channeled the spirit of Boardercross in a series of hit video games he produced for Electronic Arts called SSX that sold over 8 million copies over the following years. In 2006 Boardercross, referred to as Snowboard Cross by the F.I.S. became an official Olympic event at the Torino Olympic Games.

In culture[edit]

Early releases in the EA Sports SSX (Snowboard Supercross) series of video games were loosely based on boardercross. Sonic Riders, a Sonic the Hedgehog series racing game in which SEGA characters race on hoverboards, is partly inspired by boardercross.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boardercross Competition". Retrieved 13 November 2014.