Grab your snow goggles and strap on your board, because we’re taking you on a ride through the incredible history of snowboarding.
You’re about to discover the truth about how this adrenaline-pumping winter sport came to be, from its humble roots to the revolutionary minds that made it what it is today. We’ll dive deep into the early years of snowboarding, exploring the raw roots of the sport that started it all. Next, we’ll introduce you to the unsung hero of snowboarding, Sherman Poppen, whose wooden invention sparked a fire in the hearts of winter enthusiasts. Then, we’ll shift gears and showcase how two brilliant minds, Jake Burton and Tom Sims, transformed snowboarding into the extreme sport it is today. But wait, that’s not all. We’ve got tips and tricks to make your next snowboarding adventure unforgettable. So, hold on tight and keep your eyes open, because this is going to be one wild ride!
The Early Years: Snowboarding’s Roots
Before there were snowboards, there were sleds. People have been sledding down hills and mountains for centuries. It wasn’t until the 1920s that snowboarding as we know it today started to take shape. At this time, people were using wooden planks to slide down the snow. These planks didn’t have bindings or boots like modern snowboards. Instead, riders would simply place their feet on top of the board and control their speed with a rope.
As the years went on, snowboarding started to become more organized. In the 1960s and 70s, surfing became extremely popular, and surfers started looking for a way to surf on snow. This led to the creation of the snurfer, which was basically a wooden board with a rope attached to the front. The snurfer was the precursor to the modern snowboard.
In the 1980s, snowboarding finally started to gain some mainstream attention. Snowboarders started to appear in ski resorts, which caused quite a bit of controversy. Many skiers saw snowboarding as a dangerous and reckless activity. However, snowboarding continued to grow in popularity, and by the 1990s, it was a fully accepted and respected sport.
Today, snowboarding has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Modern snowboards are made from high-tech materials and come equipped with state-of-the-art bindings and boots. There are even specialized snowboards for different types of riding, such as freestyle, freeride, and powder. It’s amazing to see how far snowboarding has come in just a few short decades.
The Pioneer of Snowboarding: Sherman Poppen
If you’re a snowboarding enthusiast, you should be familiar with the name Sherman Poppen. Known as the father of snowboarding, Poppen is responsible for giving birth to the early form of snowboarding. You may be wondering how he did it. To tell you the truth, it’s a little accident, a little creativity and a lot of fun.
In 1965, Sherman Poppen, an engineer and surfer in Michigan, was trying to find a new winter sport to entertain his daughters. He made a toy sled that was inspired by his daughter’s surfing board. The board was wide enough to stand on and had a rope as the only control mechanism. This made it perfect for kids who loved surfing to have some fun in winter. His kids loved it and soon enough Poppen realized that he was onto something.
He decided to patent his “Snurfer” – a combination of the words “snow” and “surf”. Poppen began producing and selling the snurfers, and they became a hit. With time, the snurfer became more refined, the design improved, and the sport moved from children’s amusement to a new way of enjoying the winter.
Sherman Poppen’s snurfer took on a life of its own, and competitors began to emerge. His Snurfer may have been the first attempt at creating a snowboard, but it was far from perfect. Poppen may not have foreseen the level of enthusiasm and success the snowboard has attained today but his ingenuity gave birth to a new era of winter sports. His contribution to the sport of snowboarding deserves every bit of recognition it has gotten.
The Revolution of Snowboarding: Jake Burton and Tom Sims
Jake Burton and Tom Sims are two of the most influential people in the history of snowboarding. They revolutionized the sport by introducing new designs to the board that made it more adaptable for diverse terrains. It may surprise you that both of these icons developed their snowboarding designs separately from each other. Burton was the innovator behind “snurfing,” which was an activity created by tying up skis together to create a larger board. While on the flip side, Sims developed a “skiboard,” which was an elaborated skateboard with a binding system that made it possible to use on the snow.
Burton was the one who made people take snowboarding seriously. He started selling a new product called the “Burton Snowboard” in 1977, which took advantage of Sims’ binding design, then in 1982, he launched the first snowboard competition, which subsequently became the US Open Snowboarding Championships today.
Simultaneously, Tom Sims exploded onto the winter sports scene at the same time as Burton. He started selling his design, the Sims Snowboard in 1979, which offered a unique design based on his love for skating. The company launched new designs each year and continued to innovate and evolve each snowboarding model.
While the two initially worked in isolation from each other, they started collaborating to create the first bindings that could be used with both boots and included high-back options mounted on the board. Both of their brands continued to set the standard for snowboarding for years to come.
Burton and Sims pushed the sport of snowboarding to new heights with their bold and imaginative ideas. Later, Burton would add material technology, introducing materials such as aluminum, magnesium, and polymers to increase board laminates’ strength and flexibility. Their contribution to snowboarding took the world by storm, paving the way for the modern-day board designs that we enjoy today.
Tips and Tricks for Your Next Snowboarding Adventure
So, you’ve got your gear, you’ve hit the slopes, but what’s next? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make the most of your snowboarding adventure:
Start small: If you’re new to snowboarding, don’t jump straight on the biggest hill you can find. Start with a few smaller hills first to get a feel for it before you move up.
Be aware of others: It’s important to be aware of other people on the slopes. Look uphill before you start moving to make sure no one is coming, and always stay in control.
Make adjustments: Pay attention to how your body feels while you’re snowboarding. If something doesn’t feel right, adjust your stance or your gear until you find what works for you.
Take breaks: Snowboarding can be tiring, so don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day. Grab a hot chocolate or snack, enjoy the view, and rest your body before you hit the slopes again.
Have fun! Don’t forget why you’re out there in the first place. Snowboarding is supposed to be fun, so enjoy the experience and make some unforgettable memories.