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Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is either partially or fully covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set into a mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, surfing and skiing. It was developed in the United States in the 1960s and the 1970s and became a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998.


Many crude versions of the snowboard were made up to 100 years before the first commercially manufactured model, but it is believed that the first snowboard was invented and manufactured in Utah beginning in the early 1970s.

This claim was commemorated in 2007 by the United States mint when a snowboard theme was among the three semi-final designs of the Utah state quarter.

There are also claims that the first snowboard was the Snurfer (a portmanteau of snow and surfer), originally designed by Sherman Poppen for his daughter in 1965 in Muskegon, Michigan. Poppen’s Snurfer started to be manufactured as a toy the following year. It was essentially a skateboard without wheels, steered by a hand-held rope, and lacked bindings, but had provisions to cause footwear to adhere. During the 1970s and 1980s as snowboarding became more popular, pioneers such as Dimitrije Milovich, Sonny Sini, Jake Burton Carpenter (founder of Burton Snowboards from Londonderry, Vermont), Tom Sims (founder of Sims Snowboards) and Mike Olson (founder of Gnu Snowboards) came up with new designs for boards and mechanisms that slowly developed into the snowboards and other related equipment that we know today.

Dimitrije Milovich, an east coast surfer, had the idea of sliding on cafeteria trays. From this he started developing his snowboard designs. In 1972, he started a company called the Winterstick, which was mentioned in 1975 by Newsweek magazine. The Winterstick was based on the design and feel of a surfboard, but worked the same way as skis. In the spring of 1976 Welsh skateboarders Jon Roberts and Pete Matthews developed a Plywood deck with foot bindings for use on the Dry Ski Slope at the school camp, Ogmore-by-Sea, Wales. UK. Further development of the board was limited as Matthews suffered serious injury while boarding at Ogmore and access for the boarders was declined following the incident. The 'deck' was much shorter than current snow boards. Bevelled edges and a convex, polyurethane varnished bottom to the board, allowed quick downhill movement, but limited turning ability.

Sonny Sini actually pioneered the "boot and hook" snowboard design in 1979 which utilized a carbon fiber sleeker design. He worked to further the development of the foot bindings of the board by specializing a set of boots so they would actually "hook" onto the board. His designs were later abandoned because they did not allow the rider to easily snap out if needed. He did not have a chance to copyright his designs because soon after their conception he was killed after falling out of a helicopter.

In 1979 the first ever World Snurfing Championship was held at Pando Ski Lodge near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jake Burton Carpenter, came from Vermont to compete with a snowboard of his own design. There were many protests from the competitors about Jake entering with a non-snurfer board. Paul Graves, the top snurfer at the time, and others, advocated that Jake be allowed to race. A modified division was created and won by Jake as the sole entrant. That race was considered the first competition for snowboards and is the birth of what has now become competitive snowboarding.

In 1982 the first National Snowboard race was held near Woodstock, Vermont at Suicide Six.

In 1983 the first World Championship halfpipe competition was held at Soda Springs, California. Tom Sims, founder of Sims Snowboards, organized the event with the help of Mike Chantry a snowboard instructor at Soda Springs.

Snowboarding's growing popularity is reflected in its recognition as an official sport: in 1985, the first World Cup was held in Zürs, Austria. The International Snowboard Association (ISA) was founded in 1994 to provide universal contest regulations. In addition, the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) provides instructing guidelines and runs snowboard competitions in the U.S. Today, high-profile snowboarding events like the Olympic Games, Winter X-Games, US Open, and other events are broadcast worldwide. Many alpine resorts have terrain parks. The sport has also had an impact in countries that are largely without snow, such as Australia.

Initially, ski areas adopted the sport at a much slower pace than the winter sports public. Indeed, for many years, there was animosity between skiers and snowboarders, which lead to an ongoing skier vs snowboarder feud. Early snowboards were banned from the slopes by park officials. In 1985, only seven percent of U.S. ski areas allowed snowboarding, with a similar proportion in Europe. As equipment and skills improved, gradually snowboarding became more accepted. In 1990, most major ski areas had separate slopes for snowboarders. Now, approximately 97% of all ski areas in North America and Europe allow snowboarding, and more than half have jumps, rails and half pipes.
On March 18, 2008 Taos Ski Valley officially welcomed the first snowboarders to their resort, after years of exclusion. Founder of Bonfire Snowboarding, Brad Steward, joined Transworld Snowboarding Editor in Chief Kurt Hoy, Java Fernandez, Ryan Thompson, Josh Sherman and a local advocate for the first legal turns.

The peak year for snowboarding was 2004 with 6.6 million participants.
By 2008, this number had dropped to 5.1 million snowboarders because of the weather and what is called "ski-comeback", quite strong in Europe. An industry spokeman said that "twelve year-olds are outriding adults." The same article said that most snowboarders are 18–24 years old. Females constitute 25% of participants. (Credit: Wikipedia)



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