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History of Snowboarding and Its Competitions

Although some people think that snowboarding is a relatively recent invention, the fact is that a similar “sport” can be traced back several centuries. In the 1920s, children experimented with something that is similar to today’s boards. It was in the 60s, however, that snow boarding (what we today recognize as the sport) was “invented” by Sherman Poppen.

Later on, the board Poppen invented (called originally the “Snurfer, a combination of “snow” and “surfing”) was re-modified by several people. Today, there are several types of boards and the equipment required by each is unique. The most significant events in the history of this now popular sport include:

*The Snurfer sells (in the 60s) well and becomes an instant success; its use later on inspires some of the people who go on to make it better.

*Dimitrije Milovich starts Winterstick in the early 70s. He patents a new type of board which also becomes very popular; his products are sold all over the world and he becomes one of the first innovators for the Snurfer.

*Jake Burton and Tom Sims come on the scene and each comes up with his own version of a snow board; both winners of snowboarding medals. The two duke it out over a number of years and both have phenomenal success, both as business men and as snowboarding competitors. In fact, both host some of the first “snowboarding medals” competitions.

*The National Snow Surfing Championship (1982) in Vermont becomes the first national championship; it is very successful and covered by some top-rated TV shows like Good Morning America and The Today Show. Participants are said to go as fast as 50 miles per hour, which at the time was very impressive and helped to attract more fans to the sport. This event then became the US Open Snowboarding Championship, which then moved to Stratton Mountain in Vermont (from Suicide Six resort). This event today draws thousands.

*In the mid 80s ski resorts were finally convinced to open their doors to snowboarders. Previously, snowboarders were not welcome, supposedly because insurance would not cover them. It turned out, however, that insurance did cover the sport. What resorts feared, however, was the unkempt look of the young people that snowboarded. They feared that the more traditional looking skiers would object to the sport on the same course; there were concerns about safety. These concerns, however dissipated when resorts saw how lucrative snowboarding competitions could be for the towns that hosted them.

*In 1992, Doug Waugh invented the Pipe Dragon, a machine that could construct and maintain snow half-pipes (which were previously created by hand). This allowed the easier and cheaper maintenance of snowboarding courses.

*Snow boarding was finally allowed into the Olympics in the 1998 Nagano, Japan games. Previously, some athletes boycotted the Olympics because it had not allowed the sport in.

*Shaun White, one of the greatest snow boarders to day, had a perfect competition season in 2005-2006. He even went on to win the US Open, which had previously eluded him.

*Craig Kelly, Terje Haakonsen, and Shaun Palmer set their marks as some of the greatest snowboarders to date.

*The International Snowboarding Federation (ISF) and the International Ski Federation both recognized and sponsored competitions on snowboarding, which added status to the sport.

*The snow boarding games in the Olympics included giant slalom and half-pipe competitions; they later included a snowboard cross that included obstacles, tight turns and other difficulties (usually involving 4 competitors going down the course-the winner advancing).

Today, snowboarding is one f the highlights of the winter Olympics. The sport makes millions of dollars for sponsor of events and the makers of the equipment that is sold. Many of the people who ski also snowboard, and vice versa. Snowboarding award medals, obtained at snowboarding competitions are only the tip of the iceberg for winning athletes. They also obtain fame, money, and the admiration of millions.

Corey Kelly