History of Snowboarding - How It Evolved in Time?

May 11, 2021

Snowboarding happens to be one of the most popular adventure sports that ensure an adrenaline rush. Believe it or not, but these sports can turn a scared individual into an adventure seeker. All you need is a bit of perseverance, practice, and the right equipment for gliding down the slopes.

History of Snowboarding How It Evolved in Time

It goes without saying that snowboarding is a difficult task. However, you can be a master in this if you practice it daily. Make sure you choose the best snowboarding bindings and other accessories carefully. Snowboarding is recognized to be a really great workout as it can burn up to 630 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of the exercise. Moreover, you will have an interesting social life.

Snowboarding can do wonders and bring a noticeable improvement in your physical and mental health. Not only it is also useful in the prevention of cardiovascular issues, but it also helps in improving your concentration.

The history of snowboarding is vast. This game was primarily inspired by skiing, surfing, sledding, and skateboarding. This sport was primarily developed in the year 1960 in the United States. In 1998, it became a vital part of the Winter Olympic Sport Championship at Nagano. In 2014, it was featured at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The popularity of snowboarding was at its peak in 2007 in the United States.

Origin of Snowboarding

From the History of snowboarding, it can be traced who invented snowboarding? Sherman Poppen was an engineer in Muskegon of Michigan. He had a steep hill behind his house. In order to give his daughter another entertaining way, he created a toy for his daughters in 1965. He is recognized as the father of snowboarding.

He fastened 2-skies side-by-side and tied one rope on the other end to gain control on the board while gliding down the hill with his daughters. As it is a combination of surfer & snow, Nancy - his wife dubbed it as a snurfer. The design of the board was so amazing that it received high popularity among the friends of his daughter. After that, he patented his idea to Brunswick Corporation. The manufacturer became a successful seller of more than one million snurfers in the next twelve years.

You will be surprised to know that more than half a million snurfers were being sold in 1966 alone. The later versions of this snurfboard used to be flat planks of wood, along with pointed bent in the upward tip.

Development of commercial snowboard

Development of commercial snowboard

Poppen gained success in organizing the very first snurfing competition in 1968 at Michina ski resort. A wide array of snowboarding enthusiasts from different parts of the country participated in the competition & Tom Sims was a devotee of skateboarding who was born in 1950.

Sims was an eighth-grader in Haddonfield in New Jersey in 1960, where he crafts the snowboard in the school shop class by gluing a carpet to the upper part of the wood piece and attaching the aluminum sheet to the bottom. He developed commercial snowboards in the middle part of the 70s. In addition to this, Pete Matthews and Jon Roberts came up with their own snowboards at the local dry ski slope in 1976. Along with the snowboards, the manufacturers have also brought several modifications in the snowboarding protective gear and made it more powerful and reliable than the previous variants.

Origin of the Largest Snowboarding Company

In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter entered the snurfing championships, where he amazed the crowd at Michigan surfing championship by offering a unique design in the history of snowboarding. He uses a set of homemade binding instead of a rope. He won the first-ever snowboarding world championship.

In accordance with the History of snowboarding, these snowboards were developed with flexible wooden planks and possessed water ski foot traps. There were only a few people who chose snowboarding as the boards were too expensive.

Origin of the Largest Snowboarding Company

It was also challenging to maneuver them on several ski hills. The designs of boards, as developed by Burton, involved a reduced cut off from the pocket and had the prominent features required for snowboarding. Thus, he turned out to have the largest snowboarding company.

In the earlier part of 1980, Alexei Melnikov and Aleksey Ostatnigrosh presented changes in the design to the snurfer. He allowed jumping by the attachment of the bungee cord. It boasted of two-foot binding design that allowed improved control.

Snowboarding gained high popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. Pioneers like Jake Burton Carpenter, Dimitrije Milovich, Mike Olson, and Tom Sims came up with unique designs of boards and mechanisms. As a result, now we have the snowboarding equipment that boasts unique bindings as well as boots.

Evolution of Snowboarding Championship

It was in 1981 when the "King of the Mountain" competition was conducted in Colorado at Ski Copper ski area in the presence of Tom Sims and other snowboarders. One participant came with a homemade snowboard that had a Formica button. However, it failed to slide on the snow properly. In 1982, the very first USA National Snowboard was conducted at Suicide Six near Woodstock in Vermont. Doug Bouton was the winner of the race.

The halfpipe competition was conducted at Soda Springs in California in 1983. The founder of Sims Snowboards, Tom Sims, was the organizer of this event. Snowboarding was recognized as the official international sport at the first World Cup, held in Zurs, Austria, in 1985.

In 1990, ISF or International Snowboard Federation was founded to give universal content regulation. Besides this, the United States of America Snowboard Association bestowed instruction guidelines and conducted snowboarding competitions in the US. Today, various events, including the Burton US Open, Winter X Games, Olympic Games, and similar events are broadcasted worldwide.

Evolution of Snowboarding Championship

In 1998, snowboarding was officially declared as a part of the Winter Olympic Championship in Nagano, Japan. Karine Ruby from France and Ross Rebagliati were the first athletes who won a gold medal for Woman snowboarding and men snowboarding respectively at the Olympics 1998.

In 2012, the International Paralympic Committee announced that para-snowboarding or adaptive snowboarding debuted as a men's and women's medal event in the Paralympic Winter Games, which was conducted in Sochi in Russia in 2014.


Now we hope you have enough idea about the history of snowboarding. However, in the beginning, it took time to adopt snowboarding as compared to the winter sports public. Also, some Ski resort officials banned the early snowboards from the slopes.

For several years, the snowboarders had to take a smaller skill assessment before they were allowed to ride chairlifts. It is a common belief that unskilled competitors may end up wiping the snow from the mountain. 7% of ski areas in the United States have allowed snowboarding since 1985. With an improvement in snowboarding lessons and equipment, people started accepting snowboarding on an extensive scale.

Though in the 70's, snowboarding faded, it took hold in the 80's. But there will always be ups and downs for everything. Now snowboarding is seeing a downturn; we are sure that it is going to hit in the future. There will always be a group of riders who can't leave this adventure, no matter what happens.

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About the Author a professional content writer and freelance journalist, Sapphire knows the dos and don’ts of jotting down the perfect articles for the readers.

She has completed her post-graduation in journalism from a reputed university and aims to become an established writer with her own book published with a reputable publisher. Apart from writing as a passion, she is also a skiing and snowboarding enthusiast.

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