Competitive Disciplines > Park & Pipe

Park & Pipe

Park and Pipe refers to the places where freestyle skiers and snowboarders go to pull off a set of tricks and aerial moves by jumping off lips, kickers or onto rails and boxes in a man-made terrain park or half-pipe built out of snow and ice.

Terrain parks can be anything from 100-300 metres long with up to 8 or 9 jumps (kickers) or features (rails or boxes) spread evenly down the slope.

Half-pipes are named such as they resemble the bottom half of a pipe that has been cut lengthways and points downhill. They vary from 100m-250m long and offer the rider the chance to slide downhill from one lip of the pipe across to the other, jumping off the lip and performing a transition turn back into the half-pipe as they do so.

In Scotland the mountain resorts all aspire to building terrain parks when there is sufficient snow and Cairngorm also have a half-pipe cutting machine, making them the only venue with a man made half-pipe.

Both parks and pipes offer a great place to have fun and build skills, however they also offer some of the most spectacular aerial competitions to watch. Competitions formats fall into three basic categories, Big Air, Slopestyle and Halfpipe.

 

“People weren’t made to fly, that’s why we make kickers,”

                                                                               - Warren Miller

Competition Background

Park and Pipe is a collection of competitive disciplines namely Big Air, Slopestyle and Halfpipe, more laid back than some of the other snowsports disciplines it attracts those that want to be creative with their riding and rewards those that can do this.  Successful riders have to match phenomenal athletic capability with creativity.  The collection of disciplines are incredibly popular in the wider snowsports industry given their accessibility and the excitement in riding jumps, rails and transitions.

Park and Pipe involves 3 main sub-disicplines:

Big Air is where riders compete and ride on a single large jump and perform a single trick in an effort score as high a mark as possible. Normally riders will perform a jump with a blend of rotation (spin) and somersault (flip) action, with a grab (holding onto the snowboard/skis) to show control and individual flair. It is judged by a panel who will look out for qualities such as: amplitude, technical difficulty, style, execution and more. Some of the most prestigious events in Big Air include the Air and Style Series, X-Games Big Air and now a World Cup / Olympic series of Big Air.  From artificial slope to the mountain resorts, it is easy to try out hitting jumps in Scotland, with a large variety of sizes and transitions available to try.

Slopestyle is where riders compete and ride down a purpose built course that will include a variety of features including jumps, rails, transitions and gaps. Increasingly these courses are becoming unique to different events, and challenge the rider’s ability to adapt to lots of different features and put down a run that is innovative, technical and well executed. Typically a course will consist between 2 – 4 jump features and 2 – 4 rail features as well as other unique features. Again this is judged by a panel similarly to Big Air. The Flow score (how well linked together the run is) is an important marker here too. Again, in Scotland there are a large number of facilities that make it possible to try out and train for Slopestyle courses. Springtime in particular is great for finding the best real-snow Slopestyle courses given the weather and snow available.

Halfpipe is the original freestyle discipline, stemming from the skate/surf culture in 60’s USA. Originally a hand-shaped course, halfpipes are now cut to very specific sizes using a variety of machinery. The Olympic standard pipe is now 22ft on both transitions, with a flat bottom that slopes up to a vertical ‘lip’ where riders takeoff. Riders will perform a variety of airs including spins/flips on both sides. Again, it is judged on similar aspects to that in Big Air and Slopestyle, with the unique challenge in Halfpipe being able to ride the transition continuously. You can find quarter-pipes at many artificial slopes and by spring Cairngorm Mountain often builds a half-pipe too.

Park and Pipe Performance Pathway

The GB Park and Pipe Performance Pathway is designed to support selected freeskiers and snowboarders from across the UK, to train, and where appropriate compete, in national and international environments for their Home Nation and GB. There are three levels of selection: Home Nations Academy is for those excelling at their home slope or club, who are identified as having the potential to progress along the performance pathway; the GB Development Team is reserved for GB level athletes; and finally beyond this is the GB Park and Pipe Main Team

Not only does the pathway guide athletes progression to the top it also provides a route for information to cascade down from the GB Park and Pipe Main Team in order to provide the most current learnings for local coaches to pass on to athletes. Snowsport Scotland administer the Home Nations Academy programme for Scotland and work with local clubs, snow facilities, artificial facilities, and other scenes to help provide opportunities for young aspiring athletes to ride, train, and compete at home and abroad. We employ two Park and Pipe Coaches within our Pathway in Scotland. Our Park and Pipe Programme Coach whose aim is to help local clubs and scenes develop their coaching team, facilities access, equipment, and more to ensure young riders across the country have the best opportunity to ride in the best environments! Once selected to Home Nations status, riders will have the opportunity to attend extra training opportunities and develop their on and off-snow skills with the inclusion of camps abroad. We also employ a Development Programme Coach who works with the GB Development Programme to offer selected athletes the chance to ride and train with the GB Performance Pathway in the UK and abroad.  The pathway promotes as much snowboarding and freeskiing as possible, alongside cross training disciplines such as gymnastics, skateboarding, and strength and conditioning work.

To get involved with Park and Pipe activities, please speak to your local slope/mountain to find out if they are holding an introduction to freestyle course or have a dedicated freestyle night for you to join on. Please check our Clubs to get in touch with your local Park and Pipe scene / club. 

Selections

For those interested in applying for selection to the Home Nations Academy and GB Development Programme for the Season 2017/18, please see the Park & Pipe Academy Selection Policy 2017/18.   Park and Pipe Application form 2017/18 We have an open window throughout the year for applications are welcome at any stage.  We recommend you discuss your submission with your local coach as they will be able to help guide you through the process, if however you are unable to do this please feel free to contact us.  Or you would like to hear more information regarding Park and Pipe in Scotland, please get in touch with:

Ben Kinnear: ben@snowsportscotland.org

Euan Baxter: euan@snowsportscotland.org

Competition Formats

The nature of the Park & Pipe disciplines means that generally riders focus more on skill and trick progression and less on formal competition in comparison to other snowsports disciplines, that said there are still a multitude of competitions around the country for those wishing to compete.  There are an array of different competition formats out there, the two main competition formats are:

Jam Format

A set time window is given to lay down the best tricks possible.  Sometimes prizes are awarded from the initial jam, in other cases the top riders make it through to a semi-final, or final for another jam or in some cases a head to head with another competitor.

Championship Format

After practice on the course competitors have two judged, qualifying runs.  The top competitors, usually 12 of them but not always, move forward to the finals, where they have a further two judged runs.  This format allows the judging panel to concentrate on each run in its entirety and provide a calculated score for each run, thus allowing the placement of athletes from 1st to last in an accurate manner. Something not possible in a Jam Format.

There is a vibrant Park & Pipe competition scene including 15-20 events throughout Scotland! The competitions range from fun low-level jams for local freestylers through to national level competitions appealing to performance-orientated athletes. All Park & Pipe events have the opportunity to be registered as part of the British Snow Tour (BST): a UK wide slopestyle ranking system. Each event is given a star rating from 1 to 6 according to the quality of the event and the attending athletes. This star-rating affects the points that competitors attain from the competition and will further contribute to BST ranking system. View the BST System for full information. 

To view information on all Park & Pipe competitions in Scotland visit our Competition Calendar.

  

Information for Competition Organisers

Snowsport Scotland is committed to supporting clubs, centres, and organisations to run high-quality, efficient competitions. Below are resources that Snowsport Scotland has provided to help you run your event or competition.

Please visit our Competition Resources section for more information.

In addition Snowsport Scotland offers a series Event Crew Development (ECD) workshops aimed to provide education and support to individuals, clubs, centres, and organisations looking to run competitions.

Please visit our Event Crew Development section for more information.

If your Club or Organisation is hosting a snowsport related event or competition and would like to display it on our Calendar, please either complete this online form or contact info@snowsportscotland.org

Resources for Park & Pipe Coaches

Traffic Light Tracker

Used for tracking the trick progression of riders, the Traffic Light Traffic Tracker is also used to support selection applications to national teams and programmes.

Please fill in the "Info" tab first before the TL Tracker. The TL Tracker already has examples in there, delete them and complete with the correct information. Please use the current date for tricks which are already established and all new developments can be tracked going forward.

Traffic Light Tracker - Freeski

Traffic Light Tracker - Snowboard

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