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Deaflympics: Snowboarding

Also see: Sign for Snowboarding
Also see: Deaf Snowboarding
Also see: Deaflympics (1)
Also see: Deaflympics (2)

By Greg Miller
November 24, 2008

Snowboarding and the Deaflympics

I have been snowboarding off and on for about 12 years now and it has become a big passion in my life. I drive up the mountain to Lake Tahoe an average of about 20-25 times per season, and because of this, winter has become my favorite season. The Deaflympics, similar to the Olympics, is divided into two categories, summer and winter sports. "The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are among the world's oldest and fastest growing sports events. They offer competition at the highest level. But they are also about building your skills, friendships, networks and pride in the worldwide deaf community" ( The Deaflympic summer sports include twenty disciplines in Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bowling, Cycling Road, Football, Handball, Judo, Karate, Orienteering, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Wrestling Freestyle, and Wrestling Greco-Roman. The winter sports include five disciplines; Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Curling, Ice Hockey, and last but certainly not least, Snowboarding.

The very first Deaflypics, then known as The Silent Games, was held in Paris in 1924. However, the first winter Deaflympics wasn't held until 25 years later in 1949. The most recent winter Deaflympics was in Salt Lake City from February 1-10, 2007. The U.S. won 3 gold metals, 4 silver metals, and 5 bronze metals In the snowboard events, the U.S. team won 1 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze metals. According to, High Tatras, Slovakia, will host the 17th Winter Deaflympics in February 2011.

There are currently three Snowboarding events at the Deaflympics, which are Parallel Giant Slalom, Snowboard Cross, and Half Pipe. In Parallel Giant Slalom, two snowboarders at a time go head to head in a race down the mountain on separate courses that contain about 25 "gates" that the competitors must navigate through. These triangular shaped "gates" are placed alternately on the left and right as you move down the hill. Snowboarder Cross is a brand new event for the Deaflymics and involves four snowboarders at a time to race down the same course containing moguls (roundish bumps in the snow), jumps, and sharp turns. Because of these obstacles that the competitors must attempt to overcome, crashes occur quite often. The course is approximately 500-900 meters long and it takes an average of 40-70 seconds to complete the race traveling down a 14-18% gradient. The first to cross the finish line wins the heat and moves on. Finally, Half Pipe is the only Snowboard event that is not a race to the end. Instead, competitors perform on a half-cylinder track for judges and the crowd. Technical moves are judged from a range of scores from one to ten, to determine the winner of the event. Some of these "technical moves" include board grabs, 360's, and McTwist's.

Snowboarding can be enjoyed by all. Whether you're deaf or hearing, nothing compares to the feeling you get when you're surrounded by nature, everything around you is calm and silent, you're alone with your thoughts, and you can maneuver your way down a mountain with only a snowboard strapped to your feet. There are not many things in my life that compare to the feeling I get from snowboarding, and if you haven't tried it before, I highly recommend it. Go to your local shop, rent a board and some boots, throw together a cold weather outfit, and get up to the mountain as soon as possible.


(2008). Deaflympics International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (CISS). Retrieved 21, November, 2008.

(2008). Stichting Nederlands Deaflypics Comité. Retrieved 24, November 2008.

(2008). U.S. Team 16th Winter Deaflympics Salt Lake City 2007 USA Deaf Sports Federation Retrieved 24, November, 2008.


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