Snowboard - New start gates for snowboard World Cup

New start gates will be introduced at the opening snowboard World Cup event of the season in Italy this weekend.

The old 'western saloon'-style gates, which were liable to technical problems, will be replaced by a hatch similar to that used in boarder cross.

“We have tested the new gates during our final World Cup event in Valmalenco, Italy, last season," FIS snowboard race director Uwe Beier said.

"As those test turned out well, we confirmed to use the new gates in the 2013 season."

The change is expected to result in a fairer start phase to races.

Movable handlebars have also been installed, which boarders can adjust to his or her preferred size.

Beier added: “The bars are adjustable in both ways, horizontal and vertical. As we also have the possibility to add markers, every racers can benefit from a perfect setting.”

The curtain-raiser to the new season kicks off on Friday in Carezza.