History of Snowboarding

Snowboarding History

Snowboarding started as a fun and innovative way to ride down a snowy hill but eventually turned into a lifestyle and a competitive sport. Originally, it was created by bonding two skis together, but now there are several different types of snowboards, features, and materials unique to the sport.

Snowboarding History

Snowboarding has come a long way as a winter sport. Read on to learn more about the history of snowboarding, from its origins to its rise to prominence as the Winter Olympic sport we know today.

Origins of Snowboarding

Thanks to Sherman Poppen and two skis, snowboarding is what it is today. Poppen had the idea of binding two skis together in the attempt of giving his kids a new and fun way to ride down a snowy hill. Poppen decided to use his new innovation and sell it commercially. At this time, it was known as the ‘snurfer.’

To ride the snurfer, one would stand on the board and hold onto a lanyard that was attached to the front end of the board. The snurfer was commercially sold and established in Muskegon, Michigan. Poppen obtained a patent and trademarked the snurfer in 1966, which later led to him selling millions that year. 

Snowboard History

After the snurfer began to sell throughout the United States commercially, surfer Dimitrije Milovich created the company Winterstick Snowboards in New Jersey. While working with surfboard creator Wayne Stovenken, Milovich created a new version of the snurfer. He would later go on to sell millions of snowboards and have the first snowboarding company. The concept of the snowboard caught the attention of other individuals that would be vital to the sport’s advancement, namely Jake Carpenter Burton and Tom Sims. Both added unique modifications to the snowboard, such as bindings and fins, that helped increase the sport’s popularity. Burton created the company Burton Snowboards, which remains one of the top-selling snowboard brands to this day.

Competition History

Once snowboarding had gained popularity and gone through multiple design changes, it started to interest snowboarders competitively. Snowboarding competitions were first held in the 1970s, and the first National Snurfing Championship was held in Michigan in 1979. Despite competitions being held and popularity increasing, ski resorts were not accepting of it. In 1985, only 39 out of the 600 ski resorts in the United States allowed snowboarding.

Snowboarding later went on to gain even more popularity. In 1985, the first Snowboarding World Cup was held in Zurs, Austria, and in 1995 snowboarding made its debut in the X Games. With competitions, an association was needed to create regulations and rules. In 1994, the first governing body was created, the International Snowboarding Association (ISA), which eventually was defunded in 2002 and was replaced by the International Ski Federation (FIS). The FIS is now in charge of snowboarding competitions and regulations.

Snowboarding became a nationally recognized sport and was a part of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. Snowboarding had only two events for men and women in the 1998 Olympics. Today, snowboarding has 11 Olympic events for men and women.

Key Dates and Facts Timeline

  • Late 1965: Sherman Poppen creates the first snowboard by tying two skis together to create what at the time was called the ‘snurfer’
  • Late 1960’s: Sherman Poppen commercially sells the first snowboard for $15
  • 1963: Tom Sims designs a “skiboard” during his 7th grade wood-shop class, which is the first board resembling modern snowboards
  • 1968: The first World Snurfing Championship was held in Muskegon State Park, Michigan
  • 1970: Surfer Dimitrije Milovich created new models of the snowboard, including the short-board. He also founded “Winterstick,” the first snowboarding company created.
  • 1979: A new and improved version of the snowboard is created by Jake Burton Carpenter, featuring footsteps and fins for stability
  • 1979: The first National snowboarding competition was held in Michigan
  • 1980’s: Snowboarding competitions started to increase and gain popularity
  • 1983: The design of the snowboard changed with there being a variety of types, including powder boards, race boards, and freestyle boards
  • 1985: The first Snowboarding World Cup is held in Zurs, Austria
  • 1985: Only 39 out of 600 ski resorts in the United States allowed snowboarders to use their resorts
  • 1994: The splitboard is invented
  • 1994: The International Snowboarding Association (ISA) is founded
  • 1995: Snowboarding makes its debut in the X games
  • 1998: Snowboarding makes its debut in the Winter Olympics
  • 2002: The International Ski Federation (FIS) is now the head snowboarding association and the International Snowboarding Association (ISA) is defunded
  • 2010: Recorded that more than 8.1 million people in the United States participate in snowboarding


What is the history of snowboarding?

Snowboarding was originally created by Sherman Poppen in 1965. His creativity led him to bind two skis together, creating the very first version of the snowboard. His idea sparked the interest of many surfers and skateboarders, including Jake Burton and Tom Sims, leading to numerous new adaptations of the snowboard to be created in the following years. Snowboarding was first developed in the United States, and as it grew in popularity, it was added to popular competitions such as the Winter X Games and Winter Olympics. The sport remains extremely popular in the U.S. and worldwide, becoming one of the most exciting winter sports of the modern era.

Who invented snowboarding?

Sheman Poppen invented the first snowboard. On December 25th, 1965, Poppen wanted to give his daughters a new and fun way to ride down the snowy hills of Michigan. He then came up with the idea of bonding two skis together. Poppen came up with the name ‘snurfer’ by combining the words surfer and snow. He later went on to commercially sell millions of snowboards after getting a patent. Throughout his life, he would snowboard and influence others to embrace the new sport.

Where did snowboarding start?

Snowboarding got its start in Muskegon, Michigan. After its creation, the snowboard began to increase in popularity, which later led to it being patented in Michigan. Once the snowboard was patented, it was commercially sold throughout the U.S. Later on, snowboarding gained popularity, and competitions were being held all around the United States. Some of the first national events were held in Leadville, Colorado, Woodstock, Vermont, and Mount Baker, Washington, in addition to ski resorts.