Unique games, a unique lingo
Before you head out to watch the events, or kick back with a beer on the couch and watch them, it’s a good idea to know the lingo of the X Games.Just what the heck is a hillcross? And what does Moto X big air mean? We’re here to help with a glossary of X Games terms below:BoardercrossRoller derby meets motocross on snowboards. Since Swatch owns the copyright on the term “boardercross,” the event is known as “Boarder X” at the X Games. Riders compete in heats of six on the X Course ? negotiating bumps, jumps, banked turns and fallen riders ? with the three fastest riders advancing to the next heat. In the six-rider finals, the first rider to cross the finish line wins. (Field: 30 men, 30 women.)SkiercrossRoller derby meets motocross on skis. A similar copyright prevents the X Games from using the term “skiercross,” though most athletes won’t know what you’re talking about if you say “Skier X,” or “Boarder X” for that matter. Skiers compete head-to-head in heats of six on the X Course, with the three fastest riders advancing to the next heat. In the six-man finals, the first skier over the finish line wins. (Field: 30 men, 18 women.)UltracrossRoller derby meets motocross on skis and snowboards. The top 16 men from skiercross and boardercross are paired at random to race the X Course in tandem, in heats of four. The boarders go first and when they cross the finish line, the gate opens for their skiing partner at the top. The two fastest teams in each heat advance until four teams remain in the finals. (Field: 16 male snowboarders, 16 male skiers.)SlopestyleBest run wins. Skiers and snowboarders compete on the same course, riddled with large jumps and handrails like the “Sex Change” and “Bowel Shift.” Based on a best-of-two-run qualifying round, 10 riders advance to the finals, where they’ll make two more runs for glory. Again, best single run wins. Judges look for style, air, grinds and difficulty. (Skiing field: 20 men. Snowboarding field: 24 men, 20 women.)HalfpipeBest ride in the pipe wins for skiers and snowboarders. Like slopestyle, each skier and rider gets two runs in the preliminaries, then 10 advance to the finals for two more runs down the 400-foot pipe. Runs may feature five to six hits or jumps over the deck, and judges pick the winners based on style, air and difficulty. (Snowboarding field: 24 men, 20 women. Skiing field: 16 men.)Moto X big air Go big or go home. The winner of the motorcycle big air competition is the rider who throws the best trick. This year, that trick is likely to be a back flip (there’s a separate, inset jump especially for it). But only five riders in the world have done the back flip, and only one of them did it on snow ? two weeks ago. Each rider gets three attempts and judges decide. (Field: 12 men.)HillcrossFirst sled to the top wins. Snowmobilers race up the X Course in an uphill version of skiercross and boardercross. Riders race in heats of six, with the top three finishers advancing. After six riders advance to the finals, a last-chance qualifier is held for the six semifinal losers. The top two finishers from the last-chance qualifier advance to a field of eight for the finals. (Field: 28 men.)SnocrossNASCAR on sleds. Snowmobilers race in heats of eight for four laps around the terrain-laden circular track under the Panda Peak lift. In the preliminary rounds, the top four of eight riders advance. After eight riders advance to the finals, a last-chance qualifier is staged for the semifinal losers. The top two riders advance to make up the field of 10 in the finals. The final is six laps, and the first rider around wins. (Field: 32 men.)
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Whether it’s the high jump, a race in snowboard boots up and down Woodward Copper’s summer park, or seeing which campers can nose or tail press the highest, pro rider Chase Blackwell said the camp is all about having fun.