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Snowboarding History

What is the history of Snowboarding? What are its origins? Where did Snowboarding come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Snowboarding.

Snowboarding History

Table of Contents


What are the basic rules of Snowboarding?

Snowboarding is a casual sport that just about anyone can participate in. In casual snowboarding, there are little to no rules. There is just common courtesy that includes not running into any other riders. In competitive snowboarding, specific events have certain rules, like the halfpipe, slalom, and cross. There are varying levels of difficulting all the way from beginners to experts. A snowboarder rides a snowboard, which is a rectangle shaped object made from wood, foam, and fiberglass. It slides easily down a snowy mountainside, and a rider can turn by leaning forward or backwards. When you first start out, the beginner hills are very tame and you will not be going very fast. However, as you become more advanced, you will start to take on much steeper hills where you will have to deal with turning and stopping at high speeds.

Which Country Started Snowboarding?

Snowboarding started in the USA as 'Snurfing' , a combination of snow and surfing. It was more of a toy than a sport at the beginning, but it caught on quickly all over the country. Many tried their luck with their own take on the snurfer, with many failed designs over the years. But eventually, companies like Burton and Sims released designs that would stick as the modern day snowboard. Once snowboarding became more well known, the sport spread quickly. However, there was a backlash from the skiing community who thought that snowboarders were "taking over" the slopes and didn't have the same etiquette as skiers. However, this tension dissipated after the sport spread and became more mainstream. As it developed, the US became the home of snowboarding. There are many places in the US that are great for all kinds of winter sports, including Colorado, Vermont, California, and Nevada. Snowboarding was invented very recently, as skiing dominated the slopes up until the 1960's.

Who Invented Snowboarding?

The snowboard was invented by Sherman Poppen in 1964. He was a surfer who dreamed of combining surfing and the beautiful winter slopes in the Rockies in Colorado. He essentially built a surfboard for riding the snow instead of the waves, and called it the 'Snurfer'. He gave his daughter his first prototype, and it was used as a backyard toy for about a year. Eventually excitement started to grow and Sherman decided to commercialize the production of the Snurfer. In a year, about 1 million people had bought the Snurfer, which was priced at $15. However, the fad died down after a couple years, but it left imprints on many people who would go on to try to create a better model to ride the snowy slopes. In the 1970's Jake Burton Carpenter and his good friend Tom Sims had their own designs for their take on the Snurfer. After years of development, the two had their own respective companies selling what we know as the modern day snowboard. Technology in the 1990's helped this snowboard become more safe and practical for more consumers, and soon the snowboard was being used all around the world.

When was Snowboarding Established?

Snowboarding competitions really started to pick up during the 80's, but didn't have official events or tournaments until the 90's. Eventually, snowboarding made its Winter Olympic debut in 1998 at the Nagano Games, which was a huge success and greatly improved public perception of the sport. Nowadays, the sport is a must watch event every four years during the Winter Olympics with household names such as Chloe Kim and Shawn White pulling off some insane stuff.

It wasn't until the late 1990's that snowboarding really became popular for the majority of the public. Only people who live in close proximity to mountains or snow would be exposed to the sport before it was mainstream. However, this changed when snowboarding was introduced at the Winter Olympics, and many people from all over the country and all over the world would travel to try out snowboarding for themselves. Another popular snowboarding competition is the Winter X-Games, which is where many Olympic athletes come from.

  • United States
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Austria

Snowboarding History Key Facts and Timeline

  • 1964: Sherman Poppen comes up with his idea for the Snurfer
  • 1970: Dimitrije Milovich develops a new model for the Snurfer based on new surfing technology
  • Late 1970's: Jake Burton Carpenter adds footstraps and fins for more stability while riding
  • 1980's: The first snowboarding competitions begin to pop up, including racing and freestyle events
  • Mid 1990's: Snowboarding booms with over 6 million new people trying out the sport, becoming the fastest growing winter sport
  • 1998: Snowboarding events are first added to the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan
  • 2002: Snowboarding is added to the Winter X-Games
  • 2010: Shawn White performs his trademark move "The Tomahawk" and becomes a sensation across the world winning the gold medal in the halfpipe competition
  • 2018: Chloe Kim wins gold in halfpipe event in Pyeongchang, South Korea at only 17! She became the youngest woman ever to win the event and stole the hearts of many Americans for her amazing efforts.


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