Snowboarding is a relatively new winter sport on the international stage. The first commercial snowboards were introduced in the 1960s, and by 1998 snowboarding had already become an Olympic Winter Sport. The speed, daring, and athleticism of the competitors has attracted a large fan base all over the world.
Swiss Timing and Snowboard
From Swiss Timing’s perspective, snowboarding is divided into two different types of competitions. Timing events include snowboard cross (SBX), parallel slalom (PSL), parallel giant slalom (PGS), and, more recently, some team events. Scoring events consist of big air (BA), half pipe (HP), and snowboard slope style (SBS).
Each event has its own timing format and qualification criteria. For example, in the qualifications for SBX, each rider starts individually in the order determined before the event. A new snowboarder starts every thirty seconds or so. The start time is given at the starting gate and the clock is stopped by photocells at the finish line. A new qualification format - called a jam session - is being tested. Each rider would start when he/she wants, following a gap of at least ten seconds after the previous rider. The rider can also make as many runs as he/she wants within a given time specified in a team captains’ meeting.
In the thrilling SBX finals, four to six riders start at the same time. Each wears an individual transponder on the front foot. Split times and the finishing order are transmitted immediately by the transponder, and in case of a tie the final result is confirmed by the Scan’O’Vision Star photofinish camera, which records 2000 images per second
There is also an exciting new SBX team discipline. Each team has two members. Four or six riders start at the same time and when the first member of a team crosses the finish line, an electronic signal is sent to the appropriate gate for that team and the second rider starts. The winning team is the first whose two members cross the finish line as determined by transponders and the photofinish camera.
In the parallel slalom events, a slope is chosen during the team captains’ meeting (the red slope or the blue slope) and each rider has the opportunity to make one or two runs in the qualifying round. In the finals, two riders will compete against one another in either one or two runs. The rider who notches the better time in the qualifying round has the choice of the two slopes. The first of the riders to cross the finish line advances to the next round. There are also team events which, as is the case with snowboard cross, feature two riders per team. Again, when the first team member crosses the finish line, a pulse is sent to open the parallel gate and the teammate can begin.
In the scoring events, there have been some interesting changes in the judging. Previously, scoring for the events was done by a panel of judges based on criteria determined during the team captains’ meeting. These could include aerial marks, technical marks, general marks, and so on. Swiss Timing provided devices to each judge, which they would use to transfer their scores to the head judge. A competitor’s best and worst marks would be removed and the remaining scores would be added up to determine the final result.
Swiss Timing is now developing new software that was tested in snowboard slope style and which will be introduced into the other scoring events in the coming season. The software, called Live Judging, features a Trick Selector function. It was developed to enhance the sport’s visibility on TV and to give viewers a chance to better understand tricks and scoring. During a rider’s live run, the judges record their scores and give these to the head judge with the help of a tablet device. When, less than a minute after the run, the results are available, the run is replayed on TV and for each jump or grind, TV graphics including the name of the trick and the score are displayed along with the scoring distance between the rider and the leader.
Scope of Swiss Timing services
Competitive snowboarding calls on Swiss Timing to bring a broad range of services and technologies to each competition. Additional information about how we support this exciting winter sport is available by clicking on any of the links below.
- Timing and scoring
- On-venue results (OVR)
- Public scoreboards
- Virtual graphics
- TV graphics
- Commentator information system (CIS)