The Burton New Zealand Open is currently underway at the Cadrona resort on the lovely South Island of Frodo Land. Aside from the fact that it is one of the first major contests of the 2010/2011 TTR World Ranking season, what makes this event important is roll out of TTR's new proprietary "Live Scoring System."
If the struggle for contest-ruling dominance taking place between TTR (Terje and a number of other epic snowboarders) and FIS (Olympics) isn't your thing, there are some wonderful photo galleries and shred videos linked in the rail on your right, and I encourage you to take a click-and-gander. Snowboard nerds, please meet me at paragraph three.
The Live Scoring System is similar to the ISX (Instant Scoring Experience) that is about to debut on Aug. 28 in Street League. (Rob Dyrdek's new $1.2 million dollar prize purse, uber skate event series.) Both systems were developed independently of each other, but both were created in reaction to the age-old drama that plagues the conclusion of almost every skate/shred/whatever contest -- ie: "How on Earth did shred X get a higher score than shred Y, when shred Y clearly went bigger/did more tech tricks/had better style/etc.?"
What is interesting is that the rider- and skater-driven quests to find a solution to the problem happened separately, but the two groups have ended up coming to almost the same conclusion. If the flaw is in the one score for one run approach to contest scoring, then the solution must be to break the run apart, and score all the individual tricks that make up the total sum. The Live Scoring System still factors in a score for the overall flow of a run into it's final-score tally. But by adding this traditional score in with all the indivdual trick scores, someone who throws back to back double corks, but sits on a switch method, still might have a fighting chance of winning a competition against someone who throws back to back 7s, doesn't push it, but also doesn't fall. Theoretically, at least.
The Live Scoring System debuted at Oakley's Arctic Challenge last winter. In the above TTR video remix of TTR World Champion Peetu Piiroinen's winning Arctic Challenge slopestyle run, you can see in real time how it worked. If all goes well this weekend, and the consensus among competitors and industry heavies is that the Live Scoring System worked, and is a scoring method all are excited about and comfortable with, it will be used for all TTR 6-star events this season. Lower-tier TTR events can use it at their discretion. FIS events can't use it at all.
But FIS is the governing body of the Olympics. So what happens in three years if people decide the Live Scoring System is the superior/more fair method of judging snowboard events, and the Biggest Shred Contest On Earth is using archaic judging methodologies? What would a Gold Medal mean then? See? Drama! It's so exciting!
The slopestyle and halfpipe finals of the Burton New Zealand Open are running on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Of course, due to the time difference between New Zealand and North America, if you want to watch the live stream, you'll need to be tuning in on Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m. ET to see the comps. Streaming will be hosted at GO211.com, and we will have daily wrapups with video highlights from the finals posted right here at ESPN dot com backslash action.