The halfpipe is arguably the most popular competition in snowboarding. Chloe Kim recently brought further media attention to the halfpipe by becoming the youngest female athlete to bag a Winter Olympic Gold. Pretty impressive! But have you ever wondered how long is a snowboard halfpipe?
A snowboard halfpipe can measure up to 600 ft (182.8 m) in length. The height of a halfpipe’s walls is the primary determinant in measuring the length. Typically, a halfpipe with shorter walls will have a smaller length, and vice versa.
Let’s go into some more detail about the various sizes of halfpipe and explain why the length of the halfpipe is an essential consideration in snowboarding events.
The Dimensions Of A Snowboard Halfpipe
In 1998, the International Ski Competition Rules defined the halfpipe as a “snow trough” roughly 328 feet to 394 feet (100 to 120 meters) in length and 43 to 56 feet (13 to 17 meters) in width.
Today, the Olympic halfpipe has grown to be a whopping 600 feet (182.8 meters) in length! Technological advances have made shoveling out a big halfpipe easier – using milling machines instead of by hand. This makes it possible to design massive snow troughs.
The largest halfpipe in the world is currently located at the Laax Ski Resort in Switzerland, measuring 200 m (656.2 ft) long and 6.9 m (22.6 ft) high. That’s equivalent to the length of nearly 2 football fields!
The Size Classes Of A Snowboard Halfpipe
Usually, you would see halfpipe sizes classed by how tall the pipe walls are. A table published by the International Ski Federation (FIS) shows that there should be a minimum and recommended length for each height of halfpipe used:
|Size||Halfpipe Height||Rideable Length|
|Level A||22 ft (6.7 m)||Minimum 160.0 m (524.9 ft)|
|Recommended 170.0 m (557.7 ft)|
|Level B||18 ft (5.5 m)||Minimum 120.0 m (393.7 ft)|
|Recommended 150.0 m (492.1 ft)|
|Level C||15 ft (4.6 m)||Minimum 100.0 m (328.1 ft)|
|Recommended 120.0 m (393.7 ft)|
Essentially, the length of the halfpipe is always in proportion to its height.
Design company Core77 published a comprehensive, technical article on the architecture behind halfpipes… if you’re interested in reading more. Alternatively, head over to our learn to snowboard section to start riding halfpipe yourself!
What Size Is An Olympic Halfpipe?
The official olympic halfpipe will be 22 feet high, 64 feet in width and around 600ft long.
That’s a helluva halfpipe!
Superpipe Vs Halfpipe
As mentioned above, the halfpipe has grown exponentially in recent years – both in popularity and in size.
But when does a halfpipe become a superpipe?
Oddly, there is no official rule for when a halfpipe becomes a superpipe.
However, accepted consensus is that once a halfpipe’s walls surpass 5 metres (16 feet) tall then it can be considered a superpipe. The pipe must also have a steep take off, usually with a section of vert at the top. This will happen inevitably once the pipe gets to these massive dimensions.
The Importance Of The Halfpipe Length
The length of the halfpipe matters in competitions because competitors can be penalized if they don’t make full use of the whole course. The FIS handbook explains that judges will score points until the participant has exited the bottom of the course – unless the snowboarder drops out due to an emergency.
A snowboarder has to perform as many tricks as possible when riding halfpipe. So the longer the pipe is, the more room and time the competitor will have to execute tricks consecutively and wow the judges.
The opportunities provided by a longer halfpipe are why extremely long pipes, known as superpipes, are commonly used in significant snowboarding events.
Conclusion: How Long Is A Snowboard Halfpipe?
The length of a halfpipe can vary for different snowboarding events. A longer pipe increases the chances of an athlete nailing harder and more impressive tricks.
The size of the pipe increases proportionately. As the height of the pipe walls goes up, so does its length of the course.
But what about snowboard jump sizes? Are they really that big? Click the link to find out.