Brief History of Snowboarding
Giving credit to just one individual for the invention of the snowboard would not be completely fair. It was the idea of a few men, that took the original idea of surfboarding and skateboarding and evolved it into a sport that would eventually become declared an Olympic sport.
One of the first people to think of the concept of “skiing” down the hill on a board was the man by the name of Sherman Poppen. Although, his idea of a snowboard was placing two skis together and tying a rope to the front for easier control. The name for his invention was called “Snurfer” and was designed as a children’s toy. It was a success for a long while until another idea even better came around.
Other names of people that had ideas for what a snowboard should be like include Dimitrije Milovich, Bob Webber, Jake Burton, Mike Olson, Tom Sims and Chuck Barfoot. Chuck Barfoot and Tom Sims were originally in business together, but Tom Sims left Barfoot behind once he signed on with Vision Sports. Since then Barfoot was out of the business and had no luck starting his own firm against Sims and Burton. However, for a short time Barfoot also worked for Bob Webber, who is another man that helped to invent the snowboard.
The year 1977 was a very important year for snowboarding. All of the inventors listed above were spinning off their own boards. Mike Olson and Tom Sims both created their own snowboards in shop class in their high schools. Both were brave enough to try it down a snow covered hill. 1977 was also the year that Jake Burton moved to Vermont to start making snowboards out of his garage! Ever since a child and being amazed by the “Snurfer” made by Poppen, he was determined to make a snowboard of his own. In this year, he founded Burton Boards, which is still in operations today.
Even though these inventors created a new kind of sport, it did take some time for ski resorts to caught on to the idea. Not many areas would allow snowboarders to ride on their slopes and sometimes required a test beforehand to make sure they were able to stop and ride the board as stated. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that snowboarding started to get the attention it deserved. It was declared an Olympic Sport in 1994 and debuted in the Nagano, Japan Olympics in 1998. Snowboarding was also an event in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City with the half-pipe, giant-slalom, and parallel slalom. The next Olympic event for snowboarding for be the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.
With a such a newly invented sport, it is no wonder why snowboards continue to evolve. With the addition of better board materials, snowboarding is a sport that will only continue to grow over the years to come.