The best thing about the sport of mountainboarding is that is so diverse. There are so many different things you can do with a single piece of equipment, from catching big air to being towed around by a massive kite. If you like to hug the ground, you can do that too- some mountainboarders enjoy gently coasting down hills on a leisurely ride. For the most part, though, mountainboarding has four major disciplines- freestyle, freeriding, boardercross and downhill. Freestyle is one of the most popular and exciting disciplines thanks to its two sub-categories: slopestyle and big air. Both slopestyle and big air are tons of fun to watch and participate in, though they do differ a bit.
This is similar to slopestyle in snowboarding. A rider goes down a downhill course which consists of a variety of jumps, rails and boxes. The object is to do as many cool and hard-to-pull-off tricks on the way down as possible. At the end of the run, the rider is scored based on how well they utilized the features on the track and how well they pulled off their attempted tricks.
Big air, as the name suggests, is all about getting as much air as possible. The course consists of a single massive jump, and the rider’s goal is to pull off the most impressive spin, grab, twist or any other trick possible. The style, difficulty of the maneuver and landing are all judged to form the rider’s final score.
Though the same board can be used for both competitions, different boards are preferred for the different types of freestyle by the most professional riders out there. In general, though, freestyle riders are less concerned with speed, whereas downhill riders wouldn’t care as much about a lighter weight board that is better suited for tricks.