Though there are many conflicting stories as to “who” was the actual pioneer of snowboarding, there are a few facts that remain constant throughout each history article you read. Here is a brief overview of the key moments in time that helped push the snowboarding movement to where it is today.
1929: M.J. “Jack” Burchett used clothesline to secure his feet to a piece of plywood while tying horse reins to it for some sort of steering control while gliding over the snow.
1963: With more than a 30 year gap between the first attempt of snowboarding and the next major break-through, this year is credited to a man named Tom Sims. Tom, an eighth grade student at the time, built what he called a “ski board” for his shop class. Again, it was made of plywood, hence the apt naming with board.
1965: Two years after the introduction of the “ski board”, Sherman Poppen created “The Snurfer”. This consisted of two skis being bolted together. Even though Poppen originally made this a toy for his children, he later organized events for competition with the Snurfer.
1970’s: This was the decade that snowboarding finally built its strong base, literally. In 1970, an east coast surfer named Dimitrije Milovich was struck with an idea of developing snowboards that felt like surfing but withheld the mechanics of skiing. Five years later, Milovich and his snowboard “Winterstick” were featured in Newsweek magazine.
A now well known name, Jake Burton, started using steam bent wood and fiberglass to build his boards. Towards the end of the 70’s, Burton even went as far to add steel edges on the sides and bindings with more support for greater control.
1980: Skiing helped along the development of snowboards by unknowingly planting the idea of using a P-Tex base in the minds of Burton and Winterstick snowboard manufacturers.
1982: The first international snowboarding race was in Vermont at Suicide Six. They ran a run named “The Face”.
Mid 80’s:This period of time was difficult for the up and coming snowboard community. With more that 600 ski resorts, only 39 allowed these “snow surfers”. That gave snowboarders less than ten percent in the selection process as to where they could ride.
1997: As in time, all things change. The banning of snowboarders had almost come to an abrupt end. The new sport was now accepted nearly as well as skiing worldwide.
Today:Snowboarding is growing at such an alarming rate that skiers in the United States has dropped 25 percent. Numbers of boarders directly has risen 77% in the U.S. alone, making it the fastest growing winter sport. Today, approximately 20% of people who visit U.S. ski resorts are snowboarders. If you have been lately, it seems like many more. However, projections for the year 2015 favor snowboarding as there will be more people doing it rather than skiing.