Imagine carving an awe-inspiring curving strip down a slope of fresh snow as skeins of glistening powdered ice explode around you, leaving iridescent clouds of sparkling ice in your wake that slowly cascaded over the sea. ground. Snowboarding is just plain cool.
For lovers of this winter sport, these last four words explain everything. From its humble beginnings in the 1960s as a children’s toy, snowboarding has grown into the Olympic event and the dreadful extreme sport we know today. Snowboarding is one of the fastest growing winter sports of all time and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Modern snowboarding can be traced directly to the 1965 invention of Sherman Poppen, a chemical engineer who built a new snow toy for his young daughter by tying two skis together and tying a rope in the front to hold it. to hook. Her daughter loved it and all of her friends wanted one too, so Poppen decided to turn the idea over to a manufacturer. His wife came up with a name for the new product, and in 1966 “The Snurfer” became a minor sensation, selling over half a million units.
The next major development took place in 1972 when Dimitije Milovich, an East Coast surf enthusiast, founded the Winterstick company and started building snowboards. Milovich had built his first snowboard in 1969 based on a surfboard design, and by 1974 had two “Snow Surfboard” patents and was selling snowboards in his Salt Lake City store.
In the late 1970s, the innovative new sport of snowboarding was led by two legendary men, Jake Burton Carpenter and Tom Sims, who helped bring the sport into mainstream consciousness. Burton was an East Coaster who refined the idea of the Snurfer and sold what he called “Burton Boards”, while Sims was a West Coast skateboard icon selling his own version of a “skiboard” sans. wheels. The two were pressured into commercializing their concepts and embarked on a sometimes bitter rivalry that propelled snowboarding into a mass phenomenon.
Throughout the 1980s, snowboarding grew exponentially, as new snowboarding products entered the market and ever-innovative snowboarders invented new ways to ride them. At first, the reserved world of winter sports skiing didn’t know what to think of all those scruffy youngsters showing up on the slopes with their boards, and many slopes actually prohibited snowboarders. But by the late 1980s that had all changed as the sport continued to explode in popularity and began to attract significant corporate sponsorships for organized competitions. In 1998, snowboarding made its debut at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, and since then has shown no signs of slowing down.