Everything Almanac

Ride the Slopes: A Snowboarding History

Everything Almanac

Today, snowboarding is the fastest growing winter sport in the United States. We take a look back to when it all started, with help from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids!

Ride the Slopes: A Snowboarding History

1939: Vern Wicklund and brothers Harvey and Gunnar Burgeson patented the Sno-Surf. They described the use of their invention as being like surfing on snow and an alternative to skiing.

1965: On December 25, Sherman Poppen of Muskegon, Michigan, invented the Snurfer (think “snow surfer”) for his kids. He tied together two skis and added some cross braces about 6 inches apart so that feet could be held in place.

1970s¬–’80s: As snowboarding became more popular, pioneers, including Dimitrije Milovich, an East Coast surfer, and Jake Burton Carpenter from Vermont, developed new board designs.

1982: The first international snowboard race was held at Suicide Six, a ski area near Woodstock, Vermont. The course was a steep, icy downhill run called “The Face.”

1985: Only 39 of about 600 U.S. ski resorts allowed snowboards. Lots of skiers and snowboarders collided on the slopes, resulting in broken boards and skis, broken bones, and a lot of bruises.

1990–92: Farmer Doug Waugh created the Pipe Dragon, a piece of farm machinery that cut large “half-pipes” out of big snow piles.

1998: Snowboarding became an Olympic sport at the games in Nagano, Japan.

Slopes Talk

Want to feel like a natural on the slopes? Learning a bit of the lingo will help!

Bonk: bouncing off an object such as a rock, tree, or stump.
Eat: wiping out
Half-pipe: a U-shape bowl of snow that boarders traverse and in which they jump and turn
Jib: sliding on nonsnow surfaces such as rails or platforms with the snowboard
Ollie: a jump using the tail of the snowboard as a spring
Regular foot: riding with the left foot forward on the snowboard
Slopestyle: a freestyle competition in which participants are judged on tricks performed on jumps and other structures
Spinal tap: equivalent to a backward face plant, in which you fall hard on your back after catching your heel edge
Tabletop: a mound of snow with the top sheared off to provide a flat, level landing area
Whoop de doos: a grouping of elongated bumps

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