Snowboarding, Once a High-Flying Sport, Crashes to Earth


A competitor at the United States Open in Vail, Colo., practiced on the halfpipe on Wednesday. Equipment sales and sponsorship opportunities for snowboarders have declined.

Tristan Spinski for The New York Times

As the Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov twisted, flipped and spun above the halfpipe at X Games Oslo last week on his way to a silver medal, the bottom of his board — one of the more valuable pieces of advertising real estate in the sport — displayed no corporate logo. Instead, it was adorned with an artistic design he had created for a college class assignment.

The reason for the triumph of art over commerce: Podladtchikov, 27, the 2014 Olympic halfpipe champion, no longer has a board sponsor.

Snowboarding — which scarcely existed 30 years ago and took over ski resorts around the world seemingly overnight, adding 5 million participants in two decades — has tumbled to earth recently. As the sport has been abandoned by participants…

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