BARDONECCHIA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 12: Shaun White of the United States celebrates after winning the Gold Medal in the Mens Snowboard Half Pipe Final on Day 2 of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games on February 12, 2006 in Bardonecchia, Italy. White took the Gold and Daniel Kass won the Silver. (Photo by Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Better Know A Winter Olympics Sport: Snowboarding, Shred The Gnar

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Better Know A Winter Olympics Sport: Snowboarding, Shred The Gnar

What It Is: Broseph, you already know what this sport is about! It's about popping open a Mountain Dew: Code Red and shredding some sweetness down the 'pipe and celebrating with a bag of Doritos Xtreme!

But really, snowboarding represents one of the fastest growing sports, and is a very new addition to the Winter Olympics. The Nagano Games in 1998 were the first host to snowboarding, with halfpipe and individual giant slalom competitions. Parallel giant slalom has since replaced the individual version, and snowboard cross was added in 2006, giving the sport three competitions in the Olympics (six total, as there is both men's and women's events).

If you've ever seen the Winter X Games, you probably know what the halfpipe is, but let's get the official definition form the Vancouver 2010 site: "one snowboarder at a time performs a routine of acrobatic jumps, twists and tricks on the inside of a half-cylinder-shaped snow tube or ramp while moving from one side of the halfpipe to the other." Trust us, it's cooler than that makes it sound. In parallel giant slalom, two snowboarders race simultaneously on matching courses, turning through a series of gates and snowboard cross is when four athletes race down a moto-style course, complete with bumps, jumps, winding turns, kickers and, yes, some gnarly crashes. 

Study up now on your list of terms to know. Air to Fake? Backside? Method Air? Backside Rodeo 720? Expect to hear them all once competition starts Feb. 15.

What To Watch For: This one's easy: men's and women's halfpipe finals. The air's the biggest, the tricks the sickest and the medals the goldest. Or at least Americans Shaun White and Hannah Teter hope so, the two defending gold medalists in this sport. The Flying Tomato, who has his own halfpipe built on the side of a mountain, is the favorite to repeat, thanks in large part to his new trick, the double McTwist 1260.

Meanwhile, Gretchen Bleiler will be looking to improve on her silver from Turin in 2006. The odds are good the USA is coming home with some gold after the 'pipe.

When To Watch: Medals start getting passed out Monday night, Feb. 15, with Men's Snowboard Cross Finals. The Ladies' finals is Feb. 16. Wednesday night is when White will go for gold in the Men's Halfpipe Finals (the ladies go Feb. 18). Snowboarding then takes a break before returning with the Ladies' PGS and Men's PGS Finals Feb. 26 and 27, respectively.

Why To Watch: American dominance -- U-S-A!!! took home seven of the 18 snowboarding medals in 2006 -- strong gold medal candidates, wild wipeouts, guys soaring a couple stories above the ground with a piece of plastic strapped to their fight, and did we mention gnarly crashes? Moreover, halfpipe is some of the most fun you can have at the Winter Olympics -- music's playing, it's outside and the athletes are really able to let their personalities shine.

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