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The Ultimate Guide to Snowboarding

Among the slew of sports that people enjoy in winter, snowboarding is one that has made a name for itself ever since it evolved during the second half of the 20th century. Initially, this unique sport came about in a primitive form during the 1920s. Back then, it was limited to males who would use planks ripped from barrels to serve as the board. Simple clotheslines acted as bindings to attach the feet to the board and help with steering. By the sixties, an American engineer named Sherman Poppen devised a simplified skiing system for his young daughter. Since she had trouble controlling actual skis, he made it easier for her by attaching two skis together with a length of rope. This allowed her to have greater control while moving downhill. To Poppen's surprise, word of his simple design, then known as a Snurfer, spread and became quite popular. Ultimately it culminated in a manufacturer buying the rights to the idea and churning them out by the millions. The Snurf competitions that were organized by Poppen drew people from all walks of life. One such person was a skateboard enthusiast named Tom Sims. Sims had come up with his own version of a snowboard, as had a surfer called Dimitrije Milovich. By the late 70s, bindings also came into play when Jake Burton Carpenter from Vermont showed off the homemade bindings at a Snurf competition. People were impressed with how he managed to keep his feet attached to his board. He decided to sell copies of his invention to the public and started a company called Burton Snowboards. Even though snowboarding was considered extremely expensive at the time, Burton managed to grow his business and become a manufacturing leader in the sport.

During this time, other developers were also trying their hand at creating snowboards by putting their own unique twists on the sport. They primarily focused on increasing safety and allowing for greater control and movement. The very first official snowboard race, known as the National Snowboard Race was held in 1982 in Vermont. Over the next couple of decades its popularity increased dramatically, with snowboarders being able to enjoy and attend a large number of races and competitions. Several major international events and organizations such as the World Cup (founded in 1985) and the International Snowboard Federation (1990) sprang up. Even so, snowboarding was only recognized officially by the Olympics much later in 1998. Until then, it seemed that snowboarders had much to prove to outsiders and onlookers. Skiers and ski resorts tended to look down on snowboarding and hesitated to consider it an actual sport.

Snowboarding's strong connection with youth urban culture made it appear to established skiers, to be a passing fad among younger people. However, snowboarders were dedicated to the sport and found ways to push through the skepticism and doubt. Slowly ski areas began to adapt and lifted their snowboarding bans in the mid-80s. Despite this, many of them made it mandatory for even highly advanced snowboarders to complete a skills assessment before gaining authorization to use the chairlifts. By the 90s ski areas were gradually warming up to the idea that snowboarding was there to stay. Eventually they admitted defeat and went so far as to install snowboarding facilities such as half-pipes and rails. In addition to this, snowboarders were allowed to use the same slopes as skiers. These measures helped greatly in allowing members of the public to take up snowboarding and explore the sport further. Since then, snowboarding has seen a dramatic rise in participation levels. As recently as 2010, the number of snowboarders participating in the United States alone numbered around 8.2 million. As the sport became more prominent, the amount of female snowboarders increased, with an estimated 25% of all snowboarders being women. Today there are several snowboarding schools across the country as well. The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) governs the sport by helping to train athletes and provide them with the opportunities they need to improve, excel, and peruse the option of snowboarding professionally. Explore the different snowboarding resources below to start learning more about this fun winter sport.

Styles of Snowboarding

Snowboarding Competitions

Safety and Precautions

Well-Known Events

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