The newest sport on the Olympic Winter Games program turns 24 this year, and has it ever grown. A schedule of four medal events in the debut of snowboarding at the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998 has given way to 11 planned for Beijing. Halfpipe and parallel giant slalom have remained since Nagano — though the latter was just giant slalom then — but snowboardcross, slopestyle and big air have all been added over the years. Beijing marks the debut of a new medal event in mixed team snowboardcross.
In snowboarding’s humble Olympic beginnings, Team USA took home just two medals: bronze in men’s and women’s halfpipe. But the U.S. has topped the medal table at every Games since and is far and away the all-time leader. The U.S. owns 14 gold medals and 31 total medals, more than the next two countries — Switzerland and France — combined.
Additionally, Team USA’s Shaun White is the only snowboarder to win three Olympic gold medals. Only three other snowboarders have won three medals total, and two of them are from Team USA. Slopestyle specialist Jamie Anderson has two golds and one silver medal, and halfpipe champion Kelly Clark has one gold and two bronze medals.
The snowboarding program can generally be divided into trick-based events and racing events. Halfpipe, big air and slopestyle see competitors trying to outdo each other with increasingly difficult spins and jumps on very different courses. Snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom pit racers against each other to see who can record the fastest time.
Snowboarding in Beijing will mostly take place in the mountain region of Zhangjiakou northwest of the city. The exception is big air, which takes place at the world’s first permanent big air venue, which is located in Beijing’s Shougang Industrial Park.
Updated on January 28, 2022.