20 years of snowboarding – a review

09 September 2014 09:10
More than 20 years ago: Ruby and Behounek become the first ever Snowboard World Cup event winners in Zell am See/Kaprun
More than 20 years ago: Ruby and Behounek become the first ever Snowboard World Cup event winners in Zell am See/Kaprun -
Local OC

The FIS Snowboard World Cup has come a long way. For 20 years now, FIS has organised a world wide contest tour for snowboarders which has not only grown in size over the past decades but also stood abreast of changes in the sport and its events.

In its series called '20 years of snowboarding' FISsnowboard.com takes a look back on several aspects of the FIS Snowboard World Cup kicking things off with a general review of how things started and developed. This first part is full of statistics and numbers and quickly runs you through the history of FIS Snowboarding.

It all started back in 1994 when Zell am See/Kaprun, Austria, hosted the first ever World Cup event with a parallel slalom. 18 women and 48 men competed with Karine Ruby (FRA) and Mathias Behounek (GER) earning their spots in the history books as first ever World Cup winners.

Ever since, 1,254 competitions have been organised in 24 countries. The most events (192) took place in Canada while Austria (190) and Italy (176) underlined their passion for the snowboard sport as well. Especially as Austria (16) and Italy (14) have brought up the most World Cup venues so far.

In total, 113 different hosts around the world have played a part in contributing to the growth and acceptance of the FIS Snowboard World Cup. The venues which organised the most FIS Snowboard World Cup competitions so far come from Canada: Whistler (61) and Stoneham (58) lead the ranking ahead of Bad Gastein (AUT, 48).

Since the first contest in Austria, a total number of 3,618 athletes (1,169 women, 2,449 men) have been trying to win a World Cup but only 344 snowboarders (128 women, 216 men) were able to pull of this feat so far.

The youngest to do so were Jia Liu (CHN) and Ayumu Hirano (CHN) who both won a halfpipe contest at the age of 15 and 14 respectively. The oldest athletes ever to triumph at a World Cup comp were alpine snowboarders Siegfried Grabner (AUT, 36) and Sondra Van Ert (USA, 35).

However, the most successful riders come from France as Karine Ruby (67) and Mathieu Bozzetto (35) are the ones with the most wins to their belt.

While the two French athletes have smiled from the top podium spot the most, Manuela Riegler (AUT, 308) and Jasey Jay Anderson (CAN, 233) did start in the most races. Both capitalised on their ability to start in various events such as alpine snowboarding and snowboard cross races.

In the past 20 years, FIS was responsible for 316 halfpipe contest, 260 snowboard cross races, 216 parallel giant slaloms, 214 parallel slaloms, 122 giant slaloms, 58 big airs, 32 slaloms, 18 slopestyle competitions and 10 team snowboard cross events on World Cup level.

And there are more to come. As the sport keeps on progressing so does the World Cup.

Over the last two decades, various events have been added or removed from the World Cup calendar. As a result, the 2015 season will stay true to having the finger on the pulse of snowboarding by introducing a parallel team event as well as big air comps for females.