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History of Snowboarding

Historians and archaeologists believe that the origins of skiing date back to more than 5,000 years ago in areas of Scandinavia and Finland. With the wintry
conditions proving to be quite an obstacle to mobility, skis were developed as a convenient and fast means of travel by allowing individuals to float and slide over the surface of the deep snow.

The history of snowboarding, however, tells the story of how the sport was evolved from a completely different human need i.e. the need to have fun. Lots of fun!

Legend of The Snurfer

On Christmas Day in 1965, an inventor from Michigan called Sherman Poppen created a new surfboard-like contraption for his daughter by nailing a platform on top of two children's skis. This new device would soon be dubbed the 'snurfer' and over the next decade hundreds of thousands of snurfers would be manufactured and marketed through sporting goods and toy stores while a snurfer competition would be held annually at the Pando Ski Area in Rockford, Michigan.

Due to the nature of the snurfer, racing would involve very little turning. You would pretty much just point the board downhill and hang on via a rope or strap connected to the nose of the board. At the end of the run, a snurfer would often have little choice but to stop by crashing crudely (or spectacularly if you prefer to put a positive spin to it).

Enter the Snowboard

In the late 1970s, a surfer from Long Island called Jake Burton Carpenter (who founded Burton Snowboards) developed a prototype board
with huge rubberbands to secure his feet to the board. Future competitions over the next few years in the early 1980s saw further experimentation with various snowboard designs allowing their designers to exchange and compare ideas leading to the evolution of the snowboard as we know it today.

Snowboard Acceptance

In the mid-1980s, snowboarding was primarily used in the backcountry where the snow was sometimes of the ice and hard variety. Because of this, many snowboards were built like Alpine skis instead of surf- or skateboards to cope with this requirement.

During this time, snowboarding was still considered to be a somewhat non-conventional sport and thus there was considerable resistance on the part of ski areas to allow riders onto their slopes because of safety reasons and partly due to the image of snowboard riders as overly rebellious and boisterous.

In 1987, the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) published the first snowboard instructor's manual to standardize effective methods for teaching snowboarding to would-be riders. Interest in the sport began to grow as the skill-level of snowboarders increased and before long, ski areas recognized snowboarding as a new market with a huge potential for growth.

Snowboarding Today

Snowboarding, since its inception just decades ago, has enjoyed immense growth as was predicted in the late 1980s. From the amateur snurfer built in 1965, snowboarding has now become an official winter Olympic sport.

The number of snowboarding enthusiasts worldwide now number in the millions encompassing all walks of society including small children, adolescents and adults, both male and female to further attest to its fast growing popularity.

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