What is Snowboarding?

Snowboarding is a unique snow sport that offers variety in the way of both competition and recreation. Snowboarding was invented in 1965 when Michigan native Sherman Poppen created a board for his children by fastening two ski's together. Giant slalom and halfpipe were added to the Winter Olympics in 1998 and has since evolved to encompass several sporting events and leisure activities. Though many snow resorts restricted snowboarders in the fledgling years of the sport, nearly all resorts now offer the ability to snowboard and ski on their slopes.


Snowboards function by gliding along with the snow, and turns are made by shifting your body weight. Snowboarders will strap themselves onto their boards with specialized equipment called bindings that are meant to hug specialized snowboard boots. This ensures that the snowboarder won't come detached from their board and risk injury. Depending on how a rider shifts their weight, bends their legs and centers their gravity, several unique tricks, turns, and stops can be performed both on the snow and in the air.

Freestyle Snowboarding

Snowboarding in its most basic form is referred to as freestyle. Freestyle encompasses all snowboarding that is done on natural and man-made structures whether to perform tricks or just simply to ride down the mountain.

Freeriding Snowboarding

Freeriding is very similar to freestyle except it is done on natural, untouched snow. Freestyle is often likened with backcountry snowboarding, a discipline where snowboarders will ride down rural sparsely populated mountains, typically right after a fresh snowfall.

Competitive Snowboarding

There are two branches of competitive snowboarding divided into races and tricks. With races, there are events like the parallel giant slalom, snowboardcross, and other forms of alpine snowboarding. With tricks there are events like the halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air competitions. Each of these types of snowboarding have developed their own subcultures and even specialized equipment and board styles.

Winter Olympics

Snowboarding, like other snow sports, is an ever-expanding world. In 2022's Beijing Winter Olympics, seven new medal sports are expected to be added, including men's and women's snowboardcross.