The popularity of snowboarding in the Winter Olympics left many viewers wondering how do you score points in snowboarding? After all, there are multiple snowboard competitions, including halfpipe, snowboard cross, and slopestyle. All of them use different scoring systems!
You score points in snowboarding based on the decisions of the judges assigning the scores. In halfpipe, big air, and slopestyle, they base their judgment on the execution of the trick, the difficulty, and the trick variety. The only difference is snowboard cross, which is a time-based race.
There’s a lot to learn about scoring points in snowboarding! This article covers everything in detail. Make sure to keep reading!
How Do You Score Points In Snowboarding?
Scoring In Halfpipe Snowboarding
In halfpipe snowboarding, athletes compete by performing tricks along a long carved out ramp.
There’s a panel of six judges who watch and assign scores depending on a few different factors, including:
- Execution: How well the snowboarder does overall. The judges watch for balance and fluid movements.
- Difficulty: How challenging the trick performed is. Snowboarders can make tricks more complex by adding more spins or inverting the move.
- Variety: How many different types of tricks the athlete performs. Judges don’t want to see the same move multiple times in a row!
- Amplitude: The height reached above the top of the halfpipe wall.
- Progression: A fairly subjective metric scoring the riders innovativeness and how well tricks are interlinked.
The judges use the above criteria to score the athlete up to 100 points and have the snowboarder perform five runs total. The lowest score gets dropped, then the remaining four runs are averaged for the final score.
The above runs are of course split between the qualifier and the final. The qualifier involves two runs and the highest scoring run is used. The 12 finalists then have three more runs, the highest score being the one that counts.
Can You Get A Perfect "100" Score?
It’s very challenging to get a perfect score, and there are currently only three recorded instances of this happening.
There aren’t many scoring requirements, and many judges base their scores on how other athletes performed during that competition.
Here’s some helpful info on the size of an olympic halfpipe.
Scoring in Slopestyle Snowboarding
Slopestyle is a bit different from halfpipe snowboarding. In slopestyle, there are still judges, though instead of six judges, there are nine judges split into four groups instead. They use the same criteria to determine what scores to give the athletes.
Slopestyle involves moving down a hill with multiple obstacles, including rails or jumps.
The judges observe and score based on how the snowboarder uses the barriers to reach the bottom of the slope.
For more information, I dedicated a whole article to explaining the slopestyle snowboarding rules 2023.
Scoring in Big Air Snowboarding
Big air snowboarding also uses a panel of six judges who score the athletes between 1 and 100.
Then, the lowest score gets removed, and the judges average the remaining ones together.
Like halfpipe snowboarding, the athletes perform tricks on a ramp. However, the ramp used in big air snowboarding is much higher, allowing athletes to perform huge jumps successfully.
Though the judges watch for the three main criteria (execution, difficulty, amplitude) listed to give a score, they also consider how the snowboarder landed.
Scoring In Snowboard Cross
Lastly, there is snowboard cross. Otherwise known as boarder cross, this is a chaotic and more time-based snowboarding discipline.
Here’s our post explaining snowboard cross (with video examples).
The other snowboarding styles have a relatively similar scoring system, with variations to make up for the difference in style. However, the scoring system in snowboard cross is very different from this.
Instead of using a panel of judges, boardercross snowboarding is a timed race.
Multiple snowboarders hit the slope simultaneously while navigating obstacles and avoiding wiping out on each other.
The first to reach the bottom continues to the next match until just one athlete is left. Essentially, your score in this event would be the time it takes for you to finish the race.
There are no tricks involved unless you’re showboating… which can be a terrible mistake!
5 Hot Tips For Scoring Points In Snowboarding
If you’re starting out in the competition circuit, here’s some tips for scoring points in snowboarding.
- Choose your discipline early: It’s tempting to dabble in all forms of snowboarding but if you want to score highly, focus on one.
- Go big: For all forms except slopestyle, amplitude is essential. Don’t underestimate the power of doing a simple trick… only bigger!
- Innovate: Got a weird trick that you’ve never seen others doing? Flaunt it!
- Work on flow: it’s not all about the size and complexity of tricks. Work on interlinking them and mastering that effortless flow.
- Mix it up: Variety is the spice of life… and the way to a snowboard judges heart. Whilst your favorite trick is surely impressive, don’t rely too heavily on one move.
There’s a quick rundown of how to score points in snowboarding.
I hope it helps to demystify the world of competitive snowboarding.
If you fancy trying some tricks for yourself, head over to our learning to snowboard section!