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Proposed state quarter design commemorating the first snowboard being invented in Utah
Snowboarder "dropping" a cornice.
Snowboarder in a half-pipe
Snowboarder riding off cornice
Snowboarding contributes greatly to the economies of ski resorts

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.


[edit] History

The first snowboard was invented and manufactured in Utah beginning in the early 1970s, and was commemorated in 2007 by the United States mint Jack among the three semi-final designs of the Utah state quarter[1]. However, many crude versions of the snowboard were made up to 100 years before the first real one.

Some argue 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.[1] 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.[2] During the 1970s and 1980s as snowboarding became more popular, pioneers such as Dimitrije Milovich, 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 had slowly developed into the snowboards and other related equipment that we know today.[2]

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.[3] 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.

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.[4][5]

In 1982 the first National Snowboard race was held near Woodstock, Vermont at Suicide Six.[3]

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.[6]

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.[7] Early snowboards were banned from the slopes by park officials. In 1985, only seven percent of U.S. ski areas allowed snowboarding,[8] 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.[9]

The peak year for snowboarding was 2004 with 6.6 million participants.[10]

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.[10] 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.

[edit] Styles

Since snowboarding's inception as an established winter sport, it has developed various styles, each with its own specialized equipment and technique. The most common styles today are: freeride, freestyle, and freecarve/race. These styles are used for both recreational and professional snowboarding. While each style is unique, there is overlap between them. See also List of snowboard tricks.

[edit] Freeride

The freeride style is the most common and easily accessible style of snowboarding. It involves riding down any terrain available. Freeriding may include aerial tricks and jib (any type of fixture which can be ridden with the board/skis that is not snow) tricks borrowed from freestyle, or deep carve turns more common in alpine snowboarding, utilizing whatever natural terrain the rider may encounter.[citation needed]

Freeriding equipment is usually a stiff soft shell boot with a directional twin snowboard. Since the freeride style may encounter many different types of snow conditions, from ice to deep pow down powder slopes.

[edit] Dry Slope

Dry slopes are man-made slopes which provide an alternative terrain for snowboarders wanting to snowboard during the summer or for those who live too far away from a snowy mountain. They are constructed with a solid cross-hatched metal base which hold plastic bristles for riding on. Dry slopes are commonly found in England and parts of Europe but are rare in the United States. Equipment used is usually old or retired snowboards because of the wear caused by the metal base and plastic bristles over time.[11]

[edit] Freestyle

In freestyle, the rider uses manmade terrain features such as rails, boxes, handrails, jumps, half pipes, quarter pipes, mailboxes, tabletops, and a number of other features. The intent of freestyle is to use these terrain features to perform a number of aerial or jib tricks.

The equipment used in freestyle is usually a soft boot with a twin tipped board for better balance, though freeride equipment is often used successfully. The most common binding stance used in freestyle is called "duck foot", in which the trailing foot has a negative degree of arc setup while the leading foot is in the positive range i.e. -9°/+12°. Freestyle riders who specialize in jibbing often use boards that are shorter than usual, with additional flex and filed down edges. Shorter length enables the board to be rotated faster and requires less energy on the rider's part.

Freestyle also includes halfpipe tricks. A halfpipe (or "pipe") is a trench-like half-tube made of snow. Tricks performed may be rotations such as a 360° (a full turn) in the air, or an off-axis spin like a "McTwist". Tricks can be modified while hitting different features. Some riders enjoy jibbing, which involves sliding a rail, a box, or even a tree trunk,or a log or simply boarding on anything that is not snow.

[edit] Freecarve

Similar to skiing, this race and slalom focused style is still practiced, though infrequently. Sometimes called alpine snowboarding, or the 'euro-carve', freecarving takes place on hard packed snow or groomed runs and focuses on the ultimate carving turn, much like traditional skiing. Little or no jumping takes place in this discipline. Freecarve equipment is a ski-like hardshell boot and plate binding system with a true directional snowboard that is usually very stiff and narrow to facilitate fast and responsive turns. Shaped-skis can thank these "freecarve" snowboards for the cutting-edge technology leading to their creation.

[edit] Safety and precautions

Like other winter sports, snowboarding comes with a certain level of danger.[12] Protective gear is increasing in popularity. This is a natural progression in any high-velocity sport which has the possibility for injury. The progression of protective gear is also attributed to professional riders adopting protective gear, with Shaun White being a premier competitor advertising the use of helmets. Wearing protective gear is highly recommended to all participants, beginner or advanced, due to the dangerous nature of alpine sports. The body parts most often injured in snowboarding are the wrist and ankle.[13] The wrists, scaphoid fractures and Colles fractures of the wrist are relatively common, with around 100,000 wrist fractures worldwide among snowboarders each year,[14] tailbone, head, dependent on landing position could cause serious brain injury, and shoulders. Avalanches are a clear danger when on snowy mountain slopes.[15] It is best to learn the different kinds of avalanches, how to prevent causing one and how to react when one is going to happen. Also when going out onto the snow, all who practice an activity with increased chances of injury should have a basic First Aid knowledge and know how to deal with injuries that may occur[16].

The recommended protective safety gear includes wrist guards and helmets (as snowboarders often land on their hands and knees, resulting in wrist breakage). Knee Ligament Injuries are number one in the list of Snowboarding and Skiing Injuries[17]. Get familiar with Medial Collateral Ligament Sprain (MCL Sprain) and padded/protected snowboard pants, and a helmet. Snowboarding boots should be well-fitted, with toes snug in the end of the boot to minimize movement. Goggles are crucial on bright days to prevent snow blindness and protect riders from temporary vision loss to eye damage from snow from impacts into terrain or obstacles. Padding or "armor" is recommended on other body parts such as hips, knees, spine, and shoulders. To further help avoid injury to body parts, especially knees, it is recommended to use the right technique. To acquire the right technique, one should be taught by a qualified instructor, this way you will hear about other people's mistakes and are less likely to have to learn from your own. Also, when snowboarding alone, precaution should be taken to avoid tree wells, a particularly dangerous area of loose snow that may form at the base of trees.

[edit] Competition

[edit] Slope Style

Competitors perform tricks while descending a course, moving around, over, across, or down terrain features. The course is full of obstacles including boxes, rails, jumps, jibs (includes anything the board or rider can slide across).

[edit] Big Air

Big Air competitions are contests where riders perform tricks after launching off a man made jump built specifically for the event. Competitors perform tricks in the air, aiming to attain sizable height and distance, all while securing a clean landing. Many competitions also require the rider to do a trick to win the prize. Not all competitions call for a trick to win the gold; some intermittent competitions are based solely on height and distance of the launch of the snowboarder.[citation needed]

[edit] Half-pipe

The half-pipe is a semi-circular ditch or purpose built ramp (that is usually on a downward slope), between 8 and 22 feet (6.7 m) deep. Competitors perform tricks while going from one side to the other and while in the air above the sides of the pipe.

[edit] Boardercross

In Boardercross (also known as "Boarder X"), several riders (usually 4, but sometimes 6) race down a course similar to a motorcycle motocross track (with jumps, berms and other obstacles constructed out of snow on a downhill course). Unlike traditional head-to-head races, competitors use the same terrain, sometimes resulting in accidental collisions.

Competitions involve a series of heats, traditionally with the first 2 riders in each heat advancing to the next round. The overall winner is the rider that finishes first in the final round.

[edit] Indycross

Much like Boardercross (above), but instead with single-competitor runs, so as to remove 'pole positioning' from competitive equation; the rider has to skid and turn down the course.

[edit] Rail Jam

A rail jam is a jib contest. Riders perform tricks on rails, boxes, pipes, wall rides, and several other creative features. Rail jams are done in a small area, usually with two or three choices of features for the rider to hit on a run. They are sometimes done in an urban setting, due to the relatively small amount of snow required. Scoring is done in the "jam" format, where every rider can take as many runs as time allows, usually around an hour; prizes are typically awarded for best overall male and female, and best trick male and female.

[edit] Racing

The racing events are slalom, giant slalom, and super G. In slalom, boarders race downhill through sets of gates that force extremely tight turns, requiring plenty of technical skill as well as speed.

Giant slalom uses a much longer course with gates set further apart, resulting in even higher speeds. Super G is the fastest of all, with speeds of up to 45 mph (72 km/h).

[edit] Slush Cup

The slush cup is an event held at some ski hills on the last day of the season, the point being to cross a manmade lake at the bottom of the hill. Very few people make it across but there are often prizes for all that try. This event is more just for fun than other types of competition.

[edit] Well known events

Some of the larger snowboarding contests include: the Air & Style, Burton Global Open Series, Shakedown, and the X Games.

The Ticket to Ride (World Snowboard Tour) is the largest culmination of independent freestyle events acting under one common Tour Flag. Officially recognized as the TTR World Snowboard Tour or simply ‘The TTR’, this culmination of Independent Freestyle Snowboard events has grown substantially over the last four years. Now in its seventh year, the TTR has a 10-month competition season including snowboarding events over four geographical zones. The Tour includes events like the TTR 6Star Air & Style, The Arctic Challenge and the US Open of Snowboarding.

One of the more unique and legendary contests is the Mt. Baker banked slalom. It has been won by some of the biggest names in the history of the sport. Craig Kelly and Terje Haakonsen are arguably the two best in this type of snowboarding.

[edit] Subculture

The snowboarding way of life came about to rebel the more sophisticated way of skiing, and skiers did not easily accept this new culture on their slopes. The two cultures contrasted each other in several ways including how they spoke, acted, and their entire style of clothing. Snowboarders embraced the punk and hip-hop look into their style. Words such as "dude", "gnarly", and "Shred the Gnar" are some examples of words in the snowboarding culture. It was a crossover between the urban and suburban styles onto snow, which made an easy transition from surfing and skateboarding culture over to snowboarding culture.[18]

The stereotypes of snowboarding have been known to be "lazy", "grungy", "punk", "stoners", "troublemakers", and numerous others, many of which are associated with skateboarding and surfing. However, these stereotypes may soon be considered "out of style". Snowboarding has become a sport that encompasses a very diverse crowd and fanbase, so much so that it's hard to stereotype the entire community. Reasons for these dying stereotypes include how mainstream it has become, with the shock factor of snowboarding's quick take off on the slopes wearing off. Skiers and snowboarders are becoming used to each other, showing more respect to each other on the mountain. "The typical stereotype of the sport is changing as the demographics change".[19]

[edit] Language

The language of snowboarders is a collision of two opposite styles. The general tone of the language is a laid-back style, while the verbs and adjectives project a much more aggressive tone. Shred, stomp, mob,wildhood, and crank are combined with adjectives such as sick, sketchy, tight, wicked, rad and gnarly[20]

[edit] Local Scenes

The American Northeast as well as the American states of Colorado, Utah and California are well known for their snowboarder scenes. Other places famous for snowboarding culture and many local riders include Austria, Switzerland and rising stars Chile, New Zealand and Alaska. Salt Lake City, Utah and Innsbruck, Austria have both claimed the title of "snowboarder city" in popular snowboard culture.

[edit] Media

[edit] Films

Snowboarding films have become a main part of progression in the sport. Each season, many films are released, usually in Autumn. These are made by many snowboard specific video production companies as well as manufacturing companies that use these films as a form of advertisement. Snowboarding videos usually contain video footage of professional riders sponsored by companies. An example of commercial use of snowboarding films would be The White Album, a film by snowboarding legend and filmmaker Dave Seoane about Shaun White, that includes cameos by Tony Hawk and was sponsored by PlayStation, Mountain Dew and Burton Snowboards. Snowboarding films are also used as documentation of snowboarding and showcasing of current trends and styles of the sport.

Snowboarding films also offer professional snowboarders an opportunity to focus on a creative project as an alternative to traveling exclusively for competitions. An example of this is professional snowboarder David Benedek. His film company, Blank Paper Studios, produced the documentary 91 Words For Snow (2006) as well as a collection of short films, In Short (2007).

Snowboarding has also been the focus of numerous Hollywood feature films. An early Hollywood nod to snowboarding was in the James Bond film A View to a Kill — the opening sequence features Roger Moore as Bond eluding attackers with an improvised snowboard.

Snowboarding has also been featured in the more recent film, First Descent (2005). This movie features snowboarders Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Shawn Farmer, Nick Perata and Terje Haakonsen. First Descent documents these snowboarders heliboarding into remote locations and doing big mountain riding. This film is also a documentary on the history of snowboarding, giving the history on the first snowboarders up to those of the present day.

[edit] Magazines

Snowboard magazines are integral in promoting the sport, although less so with the advent of the internet age. Photo incentives are written into many professional riders' sponsorship contracts giving professionals not only a publicity but a financial incentive to have a photo published in a magazine. Snowboard magazine staff travel with professional riders throughout the winter season and cover travel, contests, lifestyle, rider and company profiles, and product reviews. Snowboard magazines have recently made a push to expand their brands to the online market, and there has also been a growth in online-only publications, such as SnowSphere Magazine. See also Transworld Snowboarding Magazine.

[edit] Skills & Excercises

[edit] Stance & Balance

How to maintain body balance is the key point of this skill. It is critical for any snowboarder to keep his or her body on the center of the board. After the rider is well awere of his or her body balance, he or she can perform various tricks by moving the balance. Riders can improve this skill by doing excercises like hopping between each turn, or switch riding.

[edit] Pivot & Steering

This skill is closely related to the turning of the board. Pivoting and steering are mainly performed by rotation of body. When people first ride snowboards, they are advised to use their upper body to move their boards. By rotating their upper body, they can change the direction of the boards. It is crucially important for an instructor to make riders feel the rotation of their body; from upper body to the board. To improve this skill, there are exercises such as fall line pivot, motorboat exercise, and static steering.

[edit] Edging

Riders can use their hips, knees, and ankles to create the edge. Key point of this skill is how to maintain body balance on the edge of the board. Riders can create much more speed by riding on the edge. Riders can also perform carving turns after they learn to keep their body balanced on the edge. Excercise for this skills are static edge change excersice, rail-to-rail, and J-turn. Also known as carving.

[edit] Pressure control

If riders are good at pressure control, they can perform much more stable riding. This skill is essential when riders are on the bumpy slope, or on the various terrains. By flex or extend the body, rider can absorb or add the pressure of the board, controlling speed. Advanced riders can use lower parts of their bodies to control the pressure of the board. Excercise for this skills are fall line stop, ollies, nollies, and small straight air.

[edit] Timing & Coordination

This skill is about changing in rhythm of the performance. If you are good at this skill, you are very confident with performing any kinds of turns by coordinate your body movement in a proper timing. Excercise for this skill are top gun turn, counting with focus on symmetry, and tornado turns.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Flakezine". interview with Sherman Poppen. Retrieved on 2008-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b "First Stoke". SnowBoard Education. Retrieved on July 29 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Snowboard History". the beginning of Snowboarding. Retrieved on 2008-01-17. 
  4. ^ Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, Michigan): B1–B2, January 15, 2008, 
  5. ^ "main page". Pando website. Retrieved on 2008-01-16. 
  6. ^ "Transworld Snowboarding". A Complete History of the Snowboard Halfpipe.,26719,246570,00.html. 
  7. ^ Skiers vs Snowboaders: The Dying Feud,
  8. ^ Phillips, John (2001). Ski and Snowboard America - Mid-Atlantic: The Complete Guide to Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, Snow Tubing, and More Throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press. pp. 12. ISBN 076270845X. 
  9. ^ Transworld
  10. ^ a b Marquardt, Katy (September 29, 2008). King of the Hill in Snowboards. US News and World Report. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Snowboarding Safety & Guidelines @ ABC-of-Snowboarding
  13. ^ Snowboarding Injuries - Snowboarder's Ankle @ ABC-of-Snowboarding
  14. ^ Snowboarding Injuries - Wrist Fractures @ ABC-of-Snowboarding
  15. ^ Snowboarding Safety - Avalanche Awareness @ ABC-of-Snowboarding
  16. ^ Ski Safety - First Aid for Snowboarding & Skiing @ ABC-of-Snowboarding
  17. ^ Snowboarding Injuries - Knee Ligament Injuries @ ABC-of-Snowboarding
  18. ^ Heino, Rebecca (2000). "New Sports: What is So Punk about Snowboarding". Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 24, 176-199. Retrieved February 25, 2008, from EBSCOHost.
  19. ^ BYU NewsNet - Snowboarder stereotype squelched
  20. ^ Urban Dictionary: steezy

[edit] External links

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