Is Snowboarding A Sport? [3 Reasons To Avoid It!]

by Ben

People have been sliding down snowy mountains for centuries. But while most would have no issue classifying skiing as a sport, snowboarding tends to be treated as more of a pastime than a serious discipline.

This begs the question, is snowboarding really a sport?

Snowboarding is officially classified as a sport. Millions of people around the world practice snowboarding; making it one of the most highly anticipated sporting events at the Winter Olympics. 

This article will discuss what makes snowboarding a sport, its various forms and why you too should become a snowboarder!

Keep reading to learn why snowboarding is better than skiing…

What Makes Snowboarding A Sport? 

We’ve already established that snowboarding is a sport! 

But just incase you still aren’t convinced, here’s our reasoning…

Snowboarding is a physical activity that mimics many of the skills used in skiing, surfing, skateboarding, and sledding. The skill, energy, and technique required to snowboard undeniably make it a serious sport.

These are some of the reasons why the International Ski Federation (ISF) recognized snowboarding as a sport in 1994.

The official recognition from the world’s most prestigious skiing organization allowed the Olympic Committee to finally incorporate snowboarding into the Winter Olympics by 1998. 

snowboarding is a sport

Snowboarding is strictly categorized as a winter sport as it requires large mountains with plenty of fresh snow. This requirement alone makes it a winter sport.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the world’s population does not live near mountains that are snowy year-round. This leaves us with an off-season… and having to consider the merits of Snowflex vs. Indoor Snow

When Did Snowboarding Become A Sport?

Snowboarding became an official US sport in the 1960s, although it wasn’t recognised by the International Ski Federation until 1994. It was included in the Winter Olympics for the first time in 1998. 

By the 1980s, snowboarding had worldwide recognition, and in 1998, snowboarding became an official Winter Olympics event in both the male and female categories. This is covered in detail in our article,  when did snowboarding become an Olympic sport?

Snowboarding is a favorite Olympic event to this day. Halfpipe and boardercross snowboarding are two of the top snowboarding events in the Winter Olympics. 

Is Snowboarding Considered An Extreme Sport?

Snowboarding is considered an extreme sport, although there are varying degrees of risk associated with the sport. Backcountry snowboarding is considered the most dangerous type of snowboarding, due to the increased avalanche risk. 

Although regular snowboarding isn’t significantly more dangerous than skiing, it still involves a relatively high risk of injury.

Going down snowy and often steep hills at speeds of about 20 to 30 miles per hour (31.18 to 48.28 kilometers per hour) comes with a fair amount of risk.

But that doesn’t stop millions of people from snowboarding injury-free every year!

With that said, there are many thrill-seekers who practice more extreme versions of snowboarding. These can incorporate going off-piste, using the halfpipe or even metal grind rails. 

We covered all these risks and more when asking, how dangerous is snowboarding?


Different Types of Snowboarding

Snowboarders often consider the sport to be an art form. It’s just so darned beautiful! 

(Sorry, I got a little carried away). 

But there is certainly a lot of room for creativity within snowboarding. 

Snowboarders can mix and match different styles and ultimately find what works best for them. 

The five main kinds of snowboarding are freeriding, freestyle, urban, halfpipe, and boardercross.


1. Freeriding

Freeride snowboarding involves tackling the ungroomed, natural areas of the mountain. Think of it like going “off-road” with your snowboard.

If you choose to try freeriding, you will need mountainous terrain and gear that can handle whatever hurdle you may run into. An avalanche beacon for beginners is an absolute must!

2. Freestyle 

Freestyle differs from freeriding in that the focus is on tricks.

Freestyle snowboarders use natural and manufactured obstacles to demonstrate their talents. Heavily influenced by skateboarding, many of freestyle’s characteristics stem from skateboard tricks. 

Learn more in my article explaining freestyle snowboarding.

3. Urban

Urban snowboarding, as the name implies, is characterized by its location outside of official snowboarding resorts.

This usually means the mean streets of the snow resorts.

Snowboarders will often use flat ground, rails, ledges, boxes, and anything they can get their hands (or board) on. 

4. Halfpipe

Halfpipe snowboarding is one of the more famous and more competitive sides of snowboarding.

Using a large U-shaped snow ramp, snowboarders demonstrate their skills and tricks by riding the halfpipe.

These pipes can vary in width and height, with larger ones often referred to as “super pipes.” Check out the size of an olympic halfpipe!

5. Boardercross 

Boardercross or snowboard cross is another competitive snowboarding style. This type of snowboarding found its roots in BMX riding. Many natural and man-made obstacles are placed in these races with the goal of testing the riders’ skills to the limit. 

What Is Snowboard Cross? (With Video Examples)

3 Reasons To Avoid Snowboarding

  1. Everything else in life will become dull in comparison to the joy of snowboarding! You will daydream of fresh powder and crisp winter air. Concentrating on your 9-5 will become a thing of the past!
  2. You will inevitably start to hoard snowboard gear. Say goodbye to the money in the bank. Say hello to buying that extra snowboard “just incase”. 
  3. You will no longer enjoy summer. It will become just a long wait until the snowboard season rolls back around (fortunately you have this blog to keep you going in the meantime!)

Conclusion: Is Snowboarding A Sport?


Snowboarding is a popular winter sport and a favorite among Winter Olympics fans. 

Officially established as a sport in the United States only a little over half a century ago, snowboarding quickly became a worldwide sensation. 

Champions, like Shaun White, are internationally known for their success and competition finals are watched by millions. 

Apart from anything, it’s just super fun. If you haven’t already tried it – book that trip the mountain today!  

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