Why Bigger Snowboard Halfpipes Are Safer Than Smaller Halfpipes

Today’s reader question:

I heard from someone that superpipes are safer than smaller halfpipes… is that true?

Yep, even though superpipes are bigger, they can actually be safer than smaller halfpipes.

Here’s why:

Halfpipe ‘sweet spot’

It all comes down to the sweet spot of the landing, which is the sloped transition area of the pipe. Landing in this sloped ‘sweet spot’ area allows your momentum in the pipe to carry forward. It’s just like how you want to land in the sweet spot of a jump instead of landing flat or on the knuckle.

The way this sweet spot works in modern halfpipes is that the previous halfpipes before superpipes were about 18 ft and with superpipes they bumped the size up to 22 ft, but they also changed the shape a little to actually give you a larger sweet spot.

Here’s a rough diagram of what that looks like (not to scale – just to show an illustration of how the sweet spot changes):

Superpipe vs. Halfpipe - Why Superpipes are safer

As you can see, even though the 18 ft pipe is smaller, it has a smaller sweet spot, which makes it easier to push too hard off the wall of the halfpipe and end up airing to the flat area.

With the 22 ft superpipe design, there’s a larger ‘sweet spot’ area so you have a little more room for error before you end up landing flat. In this case, the shape of the halfpipe transition is more important than the actual height of the halfpipe when it comes to safety.

So that’s basically why 22 ft superpipes are actually safer on a whole vs. the old 18 ft pipe design.

Hope that answers your question!

- Jed

ps: If you want some tips on cleaning up your freestyle, stomping your landings and getting the right speed on jumps check out our free snowboard video lessons.

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