Boardercross is one of the toughest sports on snow. It requires many elements to be successful, and to be safe. Stephen Thein is an expert in the boardercross world. Thein works as a wax technician and coach for many professional athletes in the sport. Thien has seen social media and technology affect the sport of boardercross over the years. Thein organized a team called, Team Kick Ass, in 2012. Thein works closely with his athletes and with the organizers of the sport, USASA and USSA. Thein was has been interviewed numerous times for his expertise as a coach and as a wax technician. Numerous athletes have become successful members of the United States Snowboard team with his guidance and advanced wax technician experience.
Social Media and technology has influenced the world of boardercross in all areas from course design to athlete sponsorships. The evolving world of technology has kept the accuracy of scoring, the safety of courses, and the exposure level of athletes on the rise. USASA has recently experienced an evolution in score keeping and the timing of the races, along with the athletes on the racecourses. Paul Krahulec, I T leader, and organizer of the Rocky Mountain Regions boardercross events, has introduced a technological breakthrough. Krahulec designed an application that allows the spectators and the judges alike to have the times of each racer immediately, and accurately. The racers and spectators alike used to be required to post and receive times on a time board located only at the bottom of the racecourse. Now the judges use small computers to input times, and the spectators and coaches can use an application on their smart phones to receive this data as it becomes available.
Boardercross is one of the most dangerous snow sports. The sport has high speeds and is not a solo sport; you are next to up to four other people that can also crash. The courses are very technical and the chance of a wreck is high. Injuries in this sport are inevitable and most athletes are prepared to incur some sort of injury at some point in their career. The development of using computers to design and create boardercross courses has helped to make a safer environment to have races. Using topographical information to build courses makes them safer and more mathematically designed to aid in fluidity, and keep them racer friendly.
Sponsorship is a key element when you are a professional athlete. Boardercross is an expensive snow sport. The athlete must travel, pay coaches and wax technicians, plus buy equipment, and entry fess. Athletes have some cushion when they get a sponsor that can help with equipment and some expenses. In todays world of social media the sponsorships are molding and shaping into something less tedious and more manageable. Real time helps to be able to keep your exposure level high, and to insure exposure for the brands that are supporting you. Gone are the days of “beating the streets,” and here are the days of multiple social media platforms doing the promoting for you. Utilizing, “real time” can help get a much larger audience then ever before.
The new generation of young athletes is submerged in this social media era. The families and friends of these new athletes are more capable then ever to be a part of their journey. The level of technology being used is aiding in the safety of these athletes and the accuracy and accessibility of the statistics. Each year the sport is growing as the exposure continues to be more accessible and social media platforms aid this progression. More people getting involved means more money, which means a better experience, and heightened results for the athletes and the companies involved.