While the mountains of the snow around the world used to be dominated by skiers, the sport of snowboarding continues to grow in popularity. The people who were once shouted at for ruining the mountain are now finding whole mountains designed for their pleasure. The future of snowboarding is bright. One of the appeals of snowboarding is the broad number of disciplines that it covers. There are races, freestyle tricks, air competitions, longest jumps, and much more. In all of these disciplines, there are records. Let’s take a look.
In most sports, the awards and prizes go to whoever is the fastest. In many ways, snowboarding is no different. To be able to descend a mountain at high speeds is something that only real beginners and the most experienced can do. If you are a beginner you are likely descending on your bum with a high chance of a broken bone or at least a few bruises. If you are one of the best in the world you are doing it with incredible skill and flare. The average snowboarder reaches speeds of 50 km/h as they descend down mountains. They carve S shapes in the snow to slow themselves down a little and regain control. Yet even those who point their boards to the bottom of the mountain and go all out will struggle to get much faster.
That does not include Darren Powell or Edmond Plawczyk. While they are not as famous as Usain Bolt, they are faster and likely have more courage. Powell held the record for the fastest descent down a mountain for the longest period. He broke his own record in 1999 when he descended a mountain reaching speeds of 201 km/h. This was not broken until 2015 when Plawczyk finally managed to launch himself down a mountain at 203 km/h. Considering how long the previous record stood for it makes you wonder when Plawczyk will be beaten.
Yet snowboarding is not all about speed. The sport combines the thrills of air and tricks as well. Terje Hakonsen broke the record for the highest air in 2007. He managed to reach 9.8 meters while landing a backside 360. If endurance is more to your liking then snowboarding has it too. Tammy McMinn holds the record for the most vertical meters in a 24 hour period. She managed to run the same slope 101 times recording an incredible 93,124 meters of vertical height overall. Descending a run that long, that many times would leave your legs in tatters and is a testament to the strength of this incredible rider. I know that after a day of boarding I have to hobble home and I only do about 20 normal-length runs. Tammy absolutely crushed it.
The records don’t stop there. Calum Paton holds the record for the longest slide on a rail at nearly 80 meters of grind. He won the record in 2011 when he was just a teenager. The longest jump record belongs to Mads Jonsson who traveled 57 meters through the air to put his name among the greatest snowboarders in the world.
While these records are outstanding and hit numbers that are frankly hard to picture, they continue to be broken. The sport of snowboarding is still in its early years and new athletes continue to attack records at younger and younger ages. The recent winter Olympics had the youngest competitor as a snowboarder and it is no surprise. Snowboarding is a sport that has many more records to break and meters to be won. How the sport will evolve in the coming years will be amazing to watch.