Race Training
Race Camps
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A lot of carvers also race, since much of the equipment is the same.



The recommended race organization for snowboarders is the USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association). They hold many snowboard competitions throughout the season and offer three disciplines:

  1. Alpine (Giant Slalom and Slalom)
  2. Freestyle (Slopestyle and Halfpipe)
  3. Boardercross

The USASA has a total of 36 regional snowboard series throughout the USA. You can compete in any event in any series, for around $20/event, and the USASA people also sell discount lift tickets at their events. The first time you compete during a season, you register with the USASA, pay a $60 annual fee, specify your age division, and specify your home series. You can race in any series, and you are awarded points based on your placement, but only points from races in your home series count toward your eligibility for the National competition. Many USASA series use the table on the right to award points. As an example: For the Alpine discipline, suppose a regional series runs 3 GS races and 3 SL races, and you participate in 5 of them and place third in each. You get 5 x 60 points = 300 points for the season. The person who gets the most points for each discipline gets to go to nationals. With 300 points, you have a good shot. That's because you beat someone who always places first but only attends 2 races, and you beat the guy who always comes in 2nd, but who only attends 3 races.

Placement Points
1st  100
2nd 80
3rd 60
4th 50
5th 45
6th 40
7th 36
8th 32
9th 29
10th 26
11th 24

While the USASA is competitive, it has is a very supportive vibe, and beginners will feel welcomed. USASA uses real snowboard gates and stubbies, which are far more snowboard-friendly than skier flags. You can often meet other carvers and carving instructors at USASA events, and snag some free advice. As a beginner, stick to GS races, because they are closest to a carving style. Slalom style is purely cross-under, in which your torso follows a straight line down the slope while your legs flick from side to side around tight turns.

Other USASA particulars:


The USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association) holds big time events: several Grand Prix races and the World Cup. See the USSA rulebook which is based on the FIS snowboard rules


The USCSA (US Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association) holds events that are sanctioned by the USSA. The rules are defined by three rule books in priority order:


NASTAR is a racing system where you don't compete against other people - you instead compete against a handicap chart. NASTAR is cheap, at only $5 for 2 runs. Of the two runs, only the best time is used in any handicap / ranking calculations. Unfortunately, NASTAR is not snowboarder-friendly because they do not use snowboard gates. However, it provides good practice: as a beginner, do some runs early in the morning when the course is nicely groomed. Later in the day, the bumps and 2-level skier ruts require more skill to navigate. There are 22 age groups, as well as several divisions. As a snowboarder, you will be in the recreational division. You only need to race once to get a resort ranking and a national ranking (The score from your best day is used). You need to race at least twice to get a state ranking (The score from your second best day is used). You are ranked by your handicap, which is the percentage that you are slower than the national pace setter. If you have a 15 handicap, you are 15% slower than the fastest member of the U.S. Ski Team. After you are assigned a handicap, you qualify for a medal based on your discounted handicap. Snowboarders get a 10% discount, which means that 10 is subtracted from your handicap. Skiers are often faster than snowboarders due to the double effective edge from two planks. For each age group, there are ranges of handicaps that will get you a gold, silver, and bronze medal. The ranges are different for men and women.

Here is an example: A snowboarder runs two races, getting a 29 handicap on the first race and a 25 handicap on the second race. The snowboarder gets a handicap of 25 for the day, which means the snowboarder is 25% slower than the national pacesetter. The snowboard discount is 10, so for medal purposes, the handicap is 25-10 = 15. If the snowboarder is in the 30-34 age group and is a male, then according to the table on the NASTAR web site, the handicap ranges for medal purposes are as follows:

Male, 30-34 age group




Silver 11-26
Bronze 27-40

So the snowboarder gets the silver. Soon after you run your first NASTAR race, you should go to the NASTAR web site and create a password for your registration number to protect your privacy.

Jeep and NASTAR run the Jeep King of the Mountain events, which consist of a Y-course, which is PGS for the first half of the race, followed by Boardercross in the second half. With the Boardercross lure, it is definitely a way to draw more people into watching alpine.

Regional Ski clubs

Racing vs. Carving

There are a few differences between carving and racing:

Racing is racing, and carving is carving, and never the twain shall meet.

Race Training

There are a few basic tips:

Racing Gear

Racers need gear that will absorb the bumps and chatter that come from a rutted-up course:

Carve Camps and Race Camps

Race camps usually offer private gate training, video analysis, socializing, and highly qualified instructors. A fair amount of time is spent on carving technique. Timberline at Mt. Hood is a popular destination for summer race camps, and you can save money by camping. There are a few regular race camps:

In the summer at Timberline, the snow tends to be bulletproof in the morning. Throwing salt on the ice causes it to soften up in the morning and keep it from getting slushy in the afternoon as the day gets warmer. The science goes like this:

When you attend a camp that has video analysis, the video often shows carvers totally silhouetted in black against the white snow. It helps if you can:

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