When Olympic snowboard-cross racers hit Cypress Mountain today for training prior to their event, the slope-side conversation was not on the competition itself – but fashion sense – or Canada’s lack-there-of.
Snowboarders have always been on the cutting edge of fashion, as was seen during today’s event with the American’s showing off baggier denim-look-a-like snow pants.
But the friendly conversations turned sour when the Canadian men hit the mountain in seemingly tighter pants.
“We want to keep the cool factor in snowboarding, we don’t want it to go speed suits,” U.S. competitor Nick Baumgartner told the Toronto Star.
“I’m just stoked on ours. We’ve got the coolest pants.”
Outspoken U.S. teammate Nate Holland said the form-fitting pants worn by the Canadian team are riding the edge of a gentlemen’s agreement for all boarders to wear baggier gear that has been in place for years.
Worried that Canada is getting an aerodynamic advantage, Holland told the Toronto Star “it’s the red-headed stepchild of snowboarding, and so I think it’s just really important to keep that integrity intact.”
The Americans, along with other teams, have asked the International Ski Federation (FSI) to follow the guidelines of the X Games, where there is a minimum pant-leg width rule.
But no rules have been set for snowboard cross yet.
Snowboard cross is a mix of boarders from disciplines of half-pipe and alpine racing, both with different types of gear. Half-pipers are known for their flare for fashion and alpine racers wear gear to help them reach top speeds.
“If you put a speed suit on in a half-pipe you’re going to get laughed out of there,” said Holland.
Drew Neilson, Canada’s veteran snowboard cross competitor, agreed the Canadian pants are more fitted but that everyone has their own different styles and other countries, especially Europeans, where tight pants as well.
“There’s this issue about tight pants, tight jerseys going on right now, so yeah, if Nate wants to talk about that, well then at least we’ve got him thinking about something else other than racing, right?”