Picture being on a mountain full of snow in the middle of winter. It’s freezing out, the trees surround you and you sit at about 4,000 feet of elevation. You can see your breath, and beautiful white hills surround you. Now picture you’re on a snowboard flying down the slopes, wind hitting your face, powder flying up all around you leaving trails of white smoke. There is nothing to stop you from doing anything you want. The only things in control are your mind and your body. There is nothing quite like snowboarding, and if you haven’t considered trying it, or you’re on the fence about hitting the slopes, trust me, it’s the way to go. There is nothing as freeing as being alone with your thoughts and maybe a little music in your ears flying through thick powder.
According to snow.com, snowboarding was invented in 1965 when Sherman Poppen, an engineer from Muskegon, Michigan, decided to put two skis together to create a more controllable way to get down the mountain. The snowboard was initially called the “snurfer” and would later be changed to the snowboard.
Snowboarding caught on pretty quick when boards began being sold in retail to all consumers in 1972. At first, it was very popular among the skateboard community as it was essentially a skateboard without wheels, but over time the snowboard became a hit with all types of people.
In 1977, snowboarding showed that it was here to stay. Dimitrije Milovich and other snowboarding pioneers found that most ski resorts didn’t like having snowboards on the mountain, because the mountains did not insure snowboards, just skis. Milovich was able to go to major insurance brokers for ski resorts and get snowboards covered by all mountains. Tom Sims, the founder of Burton Snowboarding Company, began producing new designs for snowboards and from there, snowboarding really took off.
Kompster.com says that in 1997, the first Winter X-Games were held in Big Bear Lake, California, but in 2002 the Winter X-games introduced the winter sports scene in a whole new way adding new events like big air and slopestyle, and found a permanent home in Aspen, Colorado.
In 1998, the Winter Olympics added snowboarding as a new sport. Two of the most successful snowboarders in competitive snowboarding are Travis Rice and Shaun White.
Most people have heard of Shaun White, even those who have never snowboarded a day in their lives, mostly because of the sheer success White had on a snowboard. White has won three Gold medals in the Olympics for snowboarding, all in the Halfpipe competition. Even more staggering are his 13 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 2 bronze medals in the X-Games Superpipe and Slopestyle competitions.
Snowboarding in my opinion is one of the coolest things you can do. It has its learning curve just like anything else, but once you get good at it, there is something so graceful and beautiful about it. You can meet so many different people just by going up to the mountain. One of the best things about snowboarding is that there is no limit to the tricks you can do. Whether you’re sending a 360 off a huge big air jump, or just cruising down the bunny hills, snowboarding is fun for all different levels and ages. So, if you haven’t considered hopping on a board yet, maybe grab some friends and go give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.