Snowboarding In 2030: 13 Things That Could Transform Your Favourite Sport In The Future
We'll float above avalanches and ride powder at night
Illustration by Linguistine
15 years ago there were no GoPros, only gnarly Swedes and sponsored riders wore helmets and you could always find freshies right by the lift. Zoom in to now and it’s a very different picture. So how might things look in another decade and a half?
1) Riders will go bigger as they’ll care less about broken bones
Thanks to companies such as EpiBone, you'll be able to easily grow a fresh set. It works by extracting your stem cells and working up a 3D model from your CT scan. The bone will be alive so it'll continue growing and remodelling once it’s implanted into your body.
Ekoskeleton bionics will help those with spinal injuries walk again.
2) Paralympic snowboarders will be just as good as able-bodied athletes. And in some cases better
Rapid advances in prosthetics will be a game changer for adaptive snowboarders. Before long able-bodied athletes may look to enhance their bodies with bionic parts, as Wired reports here: “The future of sport…may well involve competing manufacturers helping athletes square off in a sort of Robocop games. “People have always thought the human body is the ideal," Hugh Herr of MIT, himself a bilateral amputee, once told ESPN. “It’s not.""
3) We will float above avalanches
Robots and drones with super senors will check the slopes for avalanches, but if we do get caught in one we’ll simply pull a cord on our super-light and tiny avalanche airbag and float off above the carnage like a jumping kiteboarder.
It will be so safe and effective that some fools will deliberately get caught in avalanches for the craic.
4) The super rich will ride more powder than you
Powder will be privatised. Guests at exclusive hotels already get access to the slopes before other guests on powder days in places such as Breckenridge. Expect this to become more widespread, with lift passes priced according to demand. Some resorts will be closed to all but the super rich, while others will make some of their best slopes private.
5) Though we will man our own heli drones to find powder
And call them our “Xaviers".
6) Everyone will hike
For the powder, because it’s fun, as they can’t afford a lift pass, for the data so their health-reporting watch alarms don’t tell their employer and get them sacked for not being active enough that day.
7) We’ll ride powder at night and it will be the best thing ever
Not by using LED suits though, it will be thanks to the evolution of night goggles like these. We'll charge through whiteouts too, and foggy pea soup days will suddenly be awesome.
8) People will ride mountains like real life 90s video games
Augmented Reality Goggles, which we already almost have thanks to RideOn, will turn the mountains into a 90s video game, and resorts will build skate bowls, extra hits and super random features all around the slopes as result.
Kids who’ve only ever snowboarded in Virtual Reality games will be the twitchiest cats on the mountain and they’ll cry every time they slam. Other kids will teach their pet robots to snowboard and deliberately smash them into other robots in the half pipe.
9) Cloud seeding will produce perfect powder
But no resort will admit to adding toxic chemicals such as silver iodide to clouds.
10) Climate change will mean more battles like Jumbo Wilds
As the world starts to simmer, low and mid-level resorts will cease to the profitable, and the search will be on for even higher new resorts with more reliable snow cover. Cue more fights over the ethics of building a snow resort in a pristine and sacred wilderness, a debate that isn't as clear cut as you might think as shown in Patagonia and Sweetgrass’s latest Jumbo Wild’s film. British Columbia, Alaska and Himalayas will all be conquered.
Climate change and general strife elsewhere on the globe could also mean more bewildered refugees from hot countries being shipped to ski resorts. Expect upbeat “First Ever Maldivian Snowboarder To Compete At 2030 Olympics" style stories to abound.
11) We will print our own snow kit
Though it might look a bit shit. 3D printing and snowboarding is a topic Whitelines first looked into here.
12) Airbag jackets and beanie helmets will amp up rider protection
Super tech smart clothing will include soft beanies that turn rock hard like a helmet when you hit the deck, jackets with airbag technology to cushion your fall, and heat responding threads which will adjust their thickness according to your core temperature readings. Where we’re going, we won’t need layers. Gaiters may also give us a blast of oxygen if we’re starting to show signs of altitude sickness.
13) Wild resorts with zero tech will be the place to ride
If you ride tech-free at a regular resort it’ll feel like everyone on the mountain is in on some big joke you don’t know the punchline for so you’ll hit up one of the few designated wild resorts. Some of these will be reserved for the super rich but others will be under the radar, secret spots you can only ride if you pass a snowboard ability test or if you can produce an actual lift ticket from the early 00s, so best hang on to those coat hanger-style things and stickers…
These wild resorts will be some of the few places on earth where you can escape the hum of drones and phones and the gaze of prying satellite eyes. Here there will be no robots. No plugged-in zoned out snowboarders. The powder will be pure and deep. It'll make you feel real, and it'll make you feel alive. Just like it always did.