When Was Snowboarding Invented? What Was Its Original Purpose?

May 04, 2021

Developed in the United States in 1960, snowboarding is a winter sport with its roots in skiing, surfing, and skateboarding. In this, the rider slides down the snow-covered mountains while making a balance on a thin snowboard. Like skiing, no poles are used in snowboarding. Snowboarding was started at the Olympics in 1998.

Snowboarding is common in many regions of the world, including Utah, Italy, Colorado, Switzerland, France, California, Canada, Washington, etc. With the drop in temperature, people find it difficult to go outdoors or play. But snowboarding is the best way to have fun and spend some quality time with friends and loved ones. That is why, today, it has become one of the most preferred sports.

Many people tend to go to the mountains and grab snowboards. It offers a wide array of physical and mental benefits. Not only does it keep you healthy, but it also helps you to reduce your boredom. However, one question strikes our mind - Who and when was snowboarding invented? If you also want to know the answer to this question, then you're at the right place. In this guide, we are going to tell when snowboarding was invented and what are the benefits of snowboarding.

When was snowboarding invented?

When was snowboarding invented

Though several debates exist regarding the fact when was snowboarding invented, no one can truly say who invented snowboarding. The very first recording instances of this Olympic sport can be traced back to the year 1939. Harvey and Gunnar Burgeson, and Vern Wicklund invented snowboarding at first.

Wicklund designed a device that combines the features of a sled and a snowboard in 1917. He patented his design after 22-years. However, it is an instance that indicates the invention of a snowboard; it can't be considered as the invention of snowboarding sport. That is why there is another story.

The other story of 1963 that has laid a foundation stone to snowboarding was when an 8th-grade student named Tom Sims from New Jersey made a ski board as his woodwork project. He created a rounded plank of pine that had a nose in the front and a carpet laid on the top for traction. To skate smoothly over the snow, he used aluminum and candle wax that helps in the sliding action while surfing. This snowboard is presently kept in display at the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum in Vail, Colorado.

Another story says that snowboarding was invented in the year of 1965 when Sherman Poppen, an engineer in Muskegon, Michigan, invented a toy to give his daughter a present. He fastened dual skis side-by-side and tied the rope at the other end to have some control and stay on the board while they glide the snow-covered hill. Though it was designed to be a simple toy, Nancy, his wife, dubbed it as the snurfer. With time, it has gained high popularity among the friends of his daughters, after which he developed the idea of snowboarding & he patented his idea to Brunswick Corporation. Though there are many other snowboarding origin stories, this story has been widely accepted as the origin of snowboarding. Now Sherman Poppen is widely acknowledged as the father of snowboarding.

Back in 1972, Dimitrije Milovich was the first one to develop the idea of using iron edges on the snowboards; this idea is a reality in this generation. He founded his company “Winterstick” that still produces a wide range of snowboards. Their classic swallowtail deep powder snowboard is famous across the globe. Eventually, by 1977, Tom Sims, Mike Olson, and Jake Carpenter Burton, all started to manufacture a variety of snowboards and skates.

By 1976, Tom Sims had established his own brand of snowboards named as Sims Snowboards. In 1977, Burton developed wooden snowboards that were flexible enough and had water ski foot traps. In the same year itself, he established Burton Snowboards in Londonderry, Vermont. Due to the high price range of their boards, very few snowboarders opted for Burton's snowboards. However, with time, Burton Snowboards became one of the largest and most renowned snowboarding companies in the world. In 1979, Sims began to develop snowboards with fiberglass in its base. Along with him, at that time, Burton also began developing ptex. He was determined to make the already advanced ski technology more efficient so that the boards can glide down better.

Later in the early 1980s, the structure of the snowboards was further modified. Alexei Melnikov and Aleksey Ostatnigrosh attached a bungee cord and a single-footed binding in the snowboard for better jumping and also added bindings for snowboarding of two-foot design to gain more sustainable control while skiing. Till the mid of 1990, we encountered several new additions of different types of snowboards such as powder boards, race boards, twin-tip, and carving boards, and other things like hard boots and plate bindings.

The very first snowboarding competition named as the National Surfing Championship was held in Muskegon, Michigan, and it offered prize money to the winners. Since the 1980s, various snowboarding competitions have been held in different parts of the world; later, in 1998, in the Winter Olympic Games held in Japan, snowboarding was declared as an official Olympic event. Both men's and women's categories were kept for the sport in the Olympics. Due to the eventual rise in snowboarding, this adventurous sport is now considered as one of the world's best sporting events.

So now, as you know, quite a lot about snowboarding, if you also want to experience snowboarding, then it is going to be one of the most memorable moments of your life. However, it is essential to buy some essential safety gear and accessories. It will help you to avoid injuries on slopes. Before you go ahead, you need to know the benefits of snowboarding.

Maintains your cardiovascular health

What is the original purpose of snowboarding?

Improvement in balance

Balancing on the moving snowboard is difficult. As ice and snow are added in the mix, things can turn out to be more difficult. Snowboarding happens to be one of the most crucial activities which bring an improvement in the balance. As you complete each session of snowboarding on the slope, there will be an improvement in your snowboarding skills and coordination. However, make sure you wear a helmet during snowboarding. It will help you to protect your head from injuries in case of a fall. Check-out this buying guide to know how to buy the best helmet for snowboarding.

Increases the core strength

Snowboarding is all about gliding through snow-covered terrain while crossing various obstacles. Here is where body flexibility plays a vital role. Snowboarding requires a rapid change in direction, body position, and speed. As a result, it makes your body flexible. Those who practice snowboarding regularly have a more flexible body as compared to others.

Maintains your cardiovascular health

Snowboarding happens to be the perfect option to opt for a healthy and good workout. With workout, it affects our body muscles and heart as well. Snowboarding helps in putting the heart rate through the paces. As a result, it enhances the ability to perform physical activity and stamina of the body.

Increases the core strength

Snowboarding has earned high popularity as energy-consuming as well as rigorous sport as it uses a wide array of body muscles. Our core muscles are present at the center of the body & they protect our vital organs. Thus, it is a prerequisite that the core muscles need to be healthy and strong. Snowboarding helps in enhancing the strength of the core muscles.

Helps in weight loss

Another prominent benefit of snowboarding is that it helps in shedding those additional kilos. If you're wondering how many calories does snowboarding burn, then you can burn six hundred calories of the body in each hour. As a result, you need to take a proper diet to replenish your energy. It will further improve your food intake while ensuring that the body is working well.

Reduces anxiety & Boost self-confidence

Another prominent benefit of snowboarding is that it helps in bringing an improvement in the mood. Snowboarding is useful in bringing a reduction in anxiety and stress. This sport is known to have a positive effect on the mental well-being of the person. As a result, it helps you stay happy. Moreover, speed and height are the two daunting things to the snowboarders. As the players face these scary elements, they bring an improvement in self-confidence.

Good for joints and leg bones

Snowboarding puts a substantial amount of weight and tension of feet, ankles, knees that will be beneficial in strengthening the bones. It is also effective in the prevention of osteoporosis and knee damage at a later phase in life. Though snowboarding can be tough on the legs, it strengthens your leg muscles.

Developing interesting relationships

Though snowboarding isn't a team sport, you meet a lot of like-minded people at the time of snowboarding. It gives you a chance to share your thoughts with new friends. Moreover, not only it helps in enhancing the bond with other people, but it also provides a better sense of self-esteem that is useful in enhancing interpersonal skills.

Developing interesting relationships


While these are the benefits you can reap via snowboarding, there are many more such as you can push your limits as much as you want, improving your concentration. It is regarded as one of the most popular exercises in those cold climatic regions. Snowboarding lets you escape from the different demands of daily routine and work. It is also useful in making you feel rejuvenated and de-stressed in those cold and winter seasons. Snowboarding offers you numerous opportunities for traveling through the snow.

If you are planning a trip to the mountains and seeking the best snowboarding in Colorado or anywhere in the US, you can find many options where you will definitely love to go snowboarding without a second thought. Snowboarding is a popular cardiovascular workout that is useful in bringing an improvement in the fitness level. Go for snowboarding & you can benefit in more ways than you can ever think. However, make sure you practice making balance on a snowboard; otherwise, you may have to face some fatal injuries. Don't forget to do proper research while buying your snowboarding gear.

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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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