The History of Snowboarding

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Snurfer Sherman Poppen
  • The History of Snowboarding
  • Although an incredibly popular sport (as if you didn't already know), snowboarding is still quite a relatively new and, naturally, similar to skiing, surfing and skateboarding. It's a little difficult to determine just who the pioneer of snowboarding was exactly, but the roots of the sport itself can be traced back to around the 1950s by a group of skaters and surfers. They created their own boards to translate the skills they already knew out onto a new terrain. Because the boards were a new and previously untested design concept, accidents often occurred for the riders and many boards left broken.

    The first actual snowboard to be released onto the market finally happened in the 1960s with Sherman Poppen's Snurfer, looking like a strange hybrid between a plywood sled and a skateboard with a rope attached, giving the rider extra leverage to control the board. The Snurfer also had steel stacks poking through the upper deck, allowing the rider to hold their feet in place while riding.

    At the time, snowboards had a cult following among surfers, skateboarders and Backcountry riders, and were quite critical of those who rode their own homemade boards. While snowboarding began off-piste, those with homemade boards were not allowed to ride on slopes used for regular skiing.

    Snowboarding's popularity grew even more so by the 1970s and 1980s with two of its greatest pioneers leading the charge, East Coast surfer Dimitrije Milovich and Jake Burton Carpenter. Both Milovich and Burton created new snowboard designs, machineries and materials that have since slowly evolved into the many snowboard, snowboard bindings and snowboarding equipment we all know and enjoy today.

    Less than 10 per cent of ski areas in the US allowed snowboarding, but by 1997 you could barely find a resort that didn't allow it. Can you imagine no snowboarding on any slope today? Snowboarding has now become so popular as a form of skiing in the US, that the number of skiers actually fell by 25 per cent and the number of snowboarders increasing by around 75 per cent and becoming the fastest growing winter sport in the country. More than 3.4 million in total now love to snowboard, with the number of riders visiting ski resorts at about 20 per cent. Snowboarding has since been predicted to officially take over skiing as the number one winter sport by 2015.

    As snowboarding continues to become more and more popular with all ages, the sport itself continues to evolve at an exciting and rapid pace.

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