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.
Boardercross courses share common traits with motorcycle motocross courses, hence the similarity between the names of each sport.
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. Given the need to come up with a final segment, Rechtschaffner, a passionate snowboarder, pitched the idea to Stump who loved it, and Blackcomb Mountain, who put up prize money and snowcat time in order to build the first 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.
Rechtschaffner had trademarked the name boardercross primarily as a way to ensure that people putting on events did so 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 moniker, as he shared the majority of snowboarders' belief that a ski sanctioning body should not be in charge of snowboarding events. That’s why Boardercross is referred to by the F.I.S. as “Snowboard Cross” in Olympic events, even though the overwhelming majority of boardercross racers still refer to their sport by the correct snowboarding term.
In the year 2000 Rechtschaffner channeled the spirit of boardercross in a series of hit video games he produced for Electronic Arts called SSX, which 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.
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 boarder cross.
All participants need a snowboard to compete. The snowboard should be fairly stiff (but not a hard board). A mouth guard, though not always required, is beneficial. Since participants are competing side-by-side tight clothing is essential to ensure competitors are not getting caught on each other's gear. As competition increases in intensity some riders choose to wear body armour to ensure safety when competing at high speeds.
- FIS Snowboard World Cup
- Snowboarding at the 2014 Winter Olympics
- Snowboarding at the 2010 Winter Olympics
- Snowboarding at the 2006 Winter Olympics