The sport of Snowtocross was invented in Mongolia in 1934. Its more widely known predecessor, Motocross, rose in international popularity in the 1920’s and prompted a group of Mongolian teens to form their own interpretation of the sport. The extreme conditions of their home country added a layer of difficulty as they used standard motocross bikes to race across ice and sleet. Unique maneuvers such as the “glacial drift” gained popularity until a series of rider injuries lead to the sport being banned in 1947.
Snowtocross was resurrected in Eastern Europe in the 1970s. In an effort to steer clear of the sport’s dangerous reputation, the riders, most of whom lived in the Russian Ural Mountains, added the element of synchronization. According to interview transcripts, the Russian athletes believed synchronized routines promoted technique, grace, and mastery, as opposed to the aggressive competitive dynamic of Mongolian racing. The new iteration of Snowtocross generated enough buzz across Eastern Europe that it became an official competition in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo with four countries represented. However, because the sport had not gained recognition outside of Eastern Europe, the trials and final race received very little coverage in media outlets.
The Olympic presentation proved to be the catalyst that sparked the next evolution of Snowtocross. Japan’s 1984 skiing team became enamored with the sport and brought their enthusiasm back to the northern region of Hokkaido. Athletes there merged Snowtocross with snowboarding to create the dynamic iteration known today.
Snowtocross maintains its cult following in Russia, Japan, and Iceland, with bi-annual competitions and devoted enthusiasts. It's rumored the hit song “Motorsport” was originally inspired by Migos’ passion for Snowtocross, but producers revised the lyrics to target a more mainstream audience. Snowtcross’ popularity continues to rise and many in the action sports community believe it will be a contender for the 2022 Olympic games.