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Snowboarding is a winter sport that originated in the United States about fifty years ago. Involving gliding down a slope with one's feet strapped to a snowboard, it is conventionally known as a slightly newer alternative to skiing. While it began as a more unruly method (as opposed to the more refined method of skiing), snowboarding has been gaining popularity and acceptance all around the globe. It was even indoctrinated into the Winter Olympics in 1998, and many official snowboarding competitions have appeared throughout the years.
The three most common styles of snowboarding are freestyle, free ride, and free carve. Free riding is the most basic style, consisting simply of a snowboarder riding down any slope. The type of snow does not matter; neither does the individual’s skill level or what tricks (if any) they perform.
Free carve (or alpine snowboarding) is the style that is most similar to skiing. Slopes are primarily made up of harder, packed snow, and free carvers focus on making sharp turns. Usually, free carve snowboarders refrain from performing tricks and focus all their energies on perfecting their turns—carving them into the snow.
Freestyle, on the other hand, is based mainly on tricks. Freestyle slopes include rails, jumps, boxes, ledges, and other types of man made terrain obstacles for the snowboarder to manoeuvre around or over. Some freestyle courses also include half pipes, which are ditch-like obstacles in the snow. The snowboarder can perform rotational or spinning tricks with these.
There is one style, the dry slope, that involves snowboarding without snow (for instance, during the summer). More common in England and other European countries, dry slopes are made of a metal base with plastic bristles.
Snowboarding tricks are grouped into airs, grabs, spins, flips, inverts, stalls, and slides. Airs are simply jumps that do not include any other tricks, such as grabbing the snowboard.
On the other hand, the key component of performing grabs is grabbing one’s snowboard. This can be done in conjunction with any kind of air, flip, rotation, or other trick.
The groups of tricks are mostly self-explanatory. For example, inverts consist of the snowboarder being, at some point, inverted in a handstand of some sort. Slides include tricks when the snowboard is sliding against an obstacle, such as a handrail or a ledge.