At this point in snowboarding contests have become a key player in how the world perceives what we do. Contests promote progression as well as help spread word of the talent, and the dedication this "sport" takes. Obviously everyone has their own feeling about contests, but at the end of the day; even if riders don't consider themselves contest riders, there is still a push to do at least a few. If not for the potential monetary earnings, for the push from sponsors and getting the exposure.
With the x-games wrapping up we can see that the level of snowboarding has gotten insane. Even in the street event which incorporates the rebel "I don't give a fuck" attitude, still had some new and amazing rail tricks... With a side of shirtless back flips. Not to say that these tricks might never have been done without contests, rather that contests pushes the progression in a faster pace.
Any ways for me, contests are definitely a double edged sword. I love the atmosphere, environment and feeling of being at contests; But they definitely don't always go how you want. It's hard to take the thing you spend basically everyday doing, and turn that into two runs. Hence why jam contests really incorporate the snowboard vibe that much better and really show off what snowboarding is. Imagine if a basket ball game only consisted of free-throws, it doesn't matter how good you are, your going to miss one every now and then.
As I said before contests are a double edged sword, even with all the money there is in podiums and the production of events; if your not getting on those podiums it's pretty difficult to make the cost to earnings work out. For instance, for 6th place at the European Open, I only got 600euros which does not come anywhere near the cost of going to Switzerland and competing. So even though I worked my way from 100-6th and risked my body for a week, I still came out in the negatives. Or 7th place at the shakedown in Montreal, which didnt provide any monetary money at all yet I made finals and was part of their tv show. Thats aot of pressure, work and energy going into something that may or may not provide any earnings, yet there is still the potential so we keep doing what we are doing.
With all this said, I absolutely love snowboarding and want to be a part of it and make an impact. And for me I feel that impact will come easier through contests. So I'll keep doing what I can, attempting to prove myself, an make my mark on what so many people, including myself care so much about.