Para Snowboard is practised worldwide and features five events: snowboard-cross, snowboard cross team event, banked slalom, dual banked slalom and giant slalom.
The competition includes male and female athletes with a physical impairment such as spinal injury, cerebral palsy and amputation.
Para Snowboard was initially governed by the World Snowboard Federation (WSF), but after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2010, it was taken under World Para Snowboard with a view to continue working with the WSF to develop the sport. At that time, World Para Snowboard also had a co-operation agreement with FIS collaborating on the development and technical aspects.
Since July 2022, the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) acts as the International Federation for the sport following the transfer of governance of Para Snow Sports from the International Paralympic Committee.
The sport owes its success to the determination of a group of pioneering riders who in 2005 began their quest to have the sport included at the Paralympic Winter Games. After many years of campaigning, in 2012 it was announced that Para Snowboard would make its debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games as part of the Para alpine skiing programme, with two medal events in lower-limb impairment classifications for men and women in snowboard-cross time trial. A hugely successful debut which attracted worldwide media interest saw Netherlands’ Bibian Mentel-Spee secure the women’s gold whilst US rider Evan Strong took the men’s
This thrust snowboard onto the global stage and in 2015, the first World Championships were held in La Molina, Spain. Here, banked slalom and snowboard-cross head-to-head were contested for the first time, whilst the lower-limb impaired classifications were split and upper-limb impaired riders also competed for coveted world titles.
The 2015 World Championships saw the culmination of ongoing improvements to the classification system, including the separation of lower-limb impaired riders to SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 which was introduced during the 2014-15 season.
Athletes now compete in three categories based on the degree of activity limitation resulting from the impairment – SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 for lower-limb impaired riders and SB-UL for upper-limb impaired athletes. Snowboarders use equipment that is adapted to their needs including snowboard and orthopaedic aids.