7 Grassroots Snowboard Contests

Grassroots Snowboard Contest Mt Bachelor Ski Resort Gerry Lopez - Big Wave Challenge - Image courtesy: Mt Bachelor Resort

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Over the past two decades, competitions that were raw and unadulterated have migrated onto the global stage. Events like the US Open & X Games are huge blockbuster shows that are fun, but they’ve lost the luster that made them an experience to be had in person. So, are there any grassroots snowboard contests still around? The answer: HELL YES!

7 Grassroots Snowboard Contests

Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails

Big Bear, CA
September 22, 2018
(2019 date TBD)

Big Bear Mountain Resort Hot Dowgs & Handrails California So Cal Music show ski & snowboard festivals 2017
Photo courtesy: Big Bear Mountain Resort

With a 140 tons of snow, blue-bird skies, and the creative geniuses behind the terrain features at Bear Mountain, this isn’t just a contest. It’s a party that kicks the season off strong. From live music to DJs bumpin’ the tunes and the best jibbers from around the globe, this is a must for anyone that loves snowboard culture. It’s a rail contest the likes that only SoCal could put out.

Checkout highlights from this year’s competition to ignite the stoke!

Rails to Riches Rail Jam

Killington, VT
December 5, 2018
(2019 date TBD)

Drew Amato Rails 2 Riches Killington Grassroots Snowboard Contests
Rails 2 Riches – The Biggest & Baddest rail jam in the East – Image taken by: Drew Amato

The East Coast was home to the zaniness of the US Open followed by the World Quarterpipe Championships in Waterville Valley. While the US Open moved out West and the World Quarterpipe is now defunct, there is one competition still going strong in Vermont – Killington’s Rails to Riches rail jam. It kicks off the competition season strong with over $25 Grand on the line. This helps make it the largest and most lucrative rail jam in the East! Those who have what it takes to impress the judges will walk away with cold hard cash and ultimate bragging rights for the entire winter.

Mt Baker Banked Slalom… aka LBS

Mt Baker, WA
February 8 – 10, 2019

Mt Baker Banked Slalom
Action packed turn. Image taken by: Justin Kors


Since 1985, the Legendary Banked Slalom has been THE contest of the year and still has its soul with no plans of selling out. The winner receives a duct tape trophy and an embroidered Carhartt jacket. Due to its popularity, the one change over the years to the LBS is that you need to qualify in one of the sanctioned races happening throughout the year. If you’re fast enough, this is your chance to compete against the pros.

Gerry Lopez – Big Wave Challenge

Mt Bachelor, OR
April 12 – 13, 2019

Grassroots Snowboard Contest Mt Bachelor Ski Resort
Gerry Lopez – Big Wave Challenge – Image courtesy: Mt Bachelor Resort

Snowboarding and surfing have always been very close to each other. Surfers chase storms to find the biggest and most amazing waves while snowboarders look for deep powder stashes. Since Mt Bachelor’s Ambassador is legendary surfer Gerry Lopez, why not build a one-of-a-kind contest that is “surf” inspired? This snowboard only event features a series of huge sweeping banked corners, quarterpipes and spines. It incorporates the natural terrain as much as possible, to create wave-like features into a flowing course.

Tom Sims Retro World Championship

Soda Springs, CA
March 2020 (2019 Postponed Due To Health Issues)

Grassroots Snowboard Contest Tom Sims Retro Worlds 2018 Soda Springs
Image courtesy: Soda Springs

Retro outfits, noses caked with Zinka, a hand-dug halfpipe and a grand slalom course… what else could you want? Due to Mike Chantry of Sims Snowboards going through some health issues, it’s been determined that the 36th edition will have to wait until March 2020. Pencil it onto your calendar now for your chance to celebrate the heritage and community within snowboarding. Past years included such legends as Chris Roach, Terry Kidwell and Shaun Palmer riding with current pros like Mark McMorris and Danny Davis. So, if you’re near Tahoe in the spring of 2020, be sure to pull out your vintage boards and go have some fun on the slopes of Soda Springs!

Love Games

Loveland Pass, CO
1st weekend in April, 2019

Brent La Fleur Photo Loveland Games Grassroots Snowboard Contests
Love Games – Image taken by: Brent La Fleur

Before snowboarding was allowed in most major resorts, it was enjoyed deep in the backcountry at places like Loveland Pass. The Love Games, presented by Satellite Board Shop, stays true to this attitude. On Day 1, the community comes out to build iconic features so they can be sessioned on Day 2. With a beer in one hand and a shovel in the other, this is your chance to be part of history as people send it!

Rally for Rocker

Sugar Bowl, CA
Late April, 2019

Similar to the Love Games, the Rally for Rocker event holds strong to the DIY attitude of snowboarding. No grooming machines, no snowmobiles and no chairlifts. All 100 percent hand dug, this banked slalom contest is a BYOB and BYOF event with proceeds going to a good cause: Rocker Memorial Skatepark.

Of course, there are some competitions that may or may not happen. And, there are always those hush-hush events you have to be part of the local scene to be made aware of like Colorado’s Bull of the Woods… but all the more fun!

Bull of the Woods – Image taken by: Brent La Fleur

Are there any other events that should be on this list? Until then, stay tuned for next week as we showcase the grassroots ski events.

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