History of Snowboarding
Presented by Free the Powder Gloves
-Mid-1960s: a surfer named Sherman Poppen built a surfboard for the snow called the “Snurfer.” It soon went into commercial production. Between 1965-1975 more than a million Snurfers were sold for $15 a piece.
-1970: an east coast surfer named Dimitrije Milovich began developing snowboards based on the model of the newest evolution of surboards, the short-board. His design included steel edges, laminated fiberglass, gravel on the board for traction and nylon straps. His company was called "Winterstick,” considered to be the first snowboarding company. After a few years, the company went broke.
-Late 1970s: a 23-year-old student named Jake Burton Carpenter, completely obsessed with trying to improve his Snurfer, added footstraps and fins for more stability. His constant tinkering led to a flexible wood planked board. Learn more at Burton's flagship website
-At nearly the same time, fellow lover of Snurfing and former skateboard champion Tom Sims, started to produce snowboards.
-1980s: snowboarding was not allowed on the public runs of most ski resorts, so the first snowboarders were forced to hike up at night when the areas were closed, trying to avoid detection, or were relegated to the backcountry.
-The period of the early 1980s saw the development and spread of snowboarding competitions. At first, the competitions were races like skiing, but soon evolved into freestyle events, emulating skateboarding tricks. The Snurfer slowly declined as the more modern designs of Burton and Sims became more popular.
-Late 80s and early 1990s: The use of ski technology materials improved the gliding abilities of the newer boards, and soon the first high-back bindings were produced by snowboard pioneers Flite.
-The evolution of design stormed on with rounded tails, hard boots, plate bindings, powder boards, race boards, free style boards, asymmetrical, twin-tip, and carving boards.
-Mid-1990s: snowboarding becomes the fastest growing winter sport on the planet with more than 6 million people. This reality crashes the doors open at most ski resorts as the sport becomes the focus of most young people learning an alpine sport. More than 80% of the kids participating in alpine sports choose snowboarding. This trend continues past 2000, before ski industry innovation begins to slow the tide with shaped skis, twin-tip skis, fat skis, and reverse camber skis.
-1991 to the early 2000s saw the development of a unique design in the history of snowboarding that replaced the snowshoe and allowed snowboarders much better accessibility and travel options in the backcountry with Voile’s “split board".
And that is the history of snowboarding. I wonder what's next?
What came before?
Learn more about the history of skiing