To say who really invented the sport of snowboarding would be impossible because people have always loved sliding down a snowy hill. Hovering in the snow on some kind of seat or board is nothing new. Ways to enjoy the snow are numerous and people have come up with ways to turn garbage can lids and cardboard into “snow boards” for enjoying an afternoon outdoors. The various ways to glide on the snow have gotten more sophisticated and evolved into using smooth boards or skis in much the same way a surfer would ride a wave.
There have been many attempts to develop a modern snowboard. In 1965, the “Snurfer” (a pun on “snow” and “surfer”) was developed as a toy for children. Two skis were tied together and a rope was placed at the front end to offer control and stability. In 1966, over 500,000 “Snurfers” were sold, but they were never seen as anything more than a toy for children even though organized competitions began to take place. The year 1969 brought a slightly more sophisticated snowboard based on the principles of skiing combined with the style of the surfboard.
The “Flying Yellow Banana” was developed in 1977. This was nothing more than a plastic shell covered with a top surface like that of a skateboard, but at the time it was considered a major advance in the little-known sport of snowboarding. The first national snowboard competition was held in the area outside Woodstock and was known as “The Suicide Six”. The race consisted of a steep descent called The Face where the main goal was probably simple survival.
Snowboarding continued to increase in popularity in the following years. In 1985 the first magazine dedicated specifically to snowboard came out on newsstands with enormous success and increased the popularity of this exciting sport. Hordes of fans started organizing regional events and snowboarding events were soon held in all parts of the world. In the year 1994 snowboarding was finally declared an Olympic event, much to the delight of the fans. The not-so-new sport of snowboarding has finally been recognized and has meant a huge win for serious snowboarders around the world.
A collection of snowboarding tricks and stunts was released on video in 1996. Shot in Alaska, the breathtaking beauty and captivating snowboarding techniques featured in the video exposed snowboarding to a new generation and by 1998 snowboarding made up nearly 50 % of all winter activities. Today almost all ski resorts accept snowboarders. There are still a few who hold on to the past, but it is unlikely to continue as the number of snowboarders continually increases.
From the first crudely built snowboards to the advanced and specialized models available today, snowboarders have carried the image of a “bad boy”. This rebellious reputation is still common today despite the fact that snowboarding attracts men, women and children of all nationalities and social groups. In most major ski resorts you can find snowboarding equipment, information and lessons. Olympic and world snowboarding events are among the most popular winter sports and the competition to be the best is fierce.
Dealers nationwide and around the world offer many types of snowboards and the choice of specially made snowboard equipment is immense. Snowboarders have participated in the X Games and even charity events such as Boarding for Breast Cancer. From its early meager beginnings, snowboarding has become a fully recognized sport, and large numbers of people turn to snowboarding for adventure, fun, and professional recognition.
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