Thuro Snowboarding: The History of Snowboarding

The development of snowboarding has been inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing; with the idea of sliding down a hill covered in snow. It has a reputation of being one of the most dynamic, progressive and influential winter sports.

Snowboarding wouldn't be what it is today without it's original pioneers. The original founders include Tom Sims, Chuck Barfoot, Sherman Poppen, Dimitrije Milovich, and Jake Burton. 

Modern snowboarding would not be what it is today without the invention of the "Snurfer". Sherman Poppen was the one who invented the Snurfer. The Snurfer is basically a ski shaped sled with a leash attached to the nose for steering. Millions of Snurfers were sold but unfortunately they were only considered to be a children's toy.

Even though the Snurfer was not taken as seriously, there were others who also had the idea of surfing down snow covered mountains. Dimitrije Milovich is an East coast surfer who also dreamed of surfing down the mountains. He got the idea when he was sliding around in cafeteria trays in the snow in upstate New York. Milovich decided to make his own snowboard by using designs of the new short surf boards. His company "Winterstick" is considered to be the first snowboard company in history.


 In 1977, Jake Burton decided to take the idea of the Snurfer and build on it. At the time Burton was only 23 years old and very much into snurfing. He decided to take on the idea of the Snurfer and add bindings for better control and fins for stability. Eventually Burton started his own company by making a limited batch of snowboards in Vermont. These snowboards were basically flexible wooden planks with water ski bindings on them.

Around the same time as Burton; Tom Sim, a devoted skateboarder started to develop his own snowboards. His snowboards were the first to offer metal edges. Unfortunately Sim didn't have the same business accoutrements as Burton. By the mid 90's, Sims was no longer a major player.

Chuck Barfoot worked with Sim and helped revolutionize the snowboard. He came up with the idea of using fiberglass in snowboards. He also came up the twin tip shape and other concepts into the snowboarding world. Since he was already making boards of his own, he decided to make his own company called "Barfoot".
Since many early snowboards did not have bindings and were controlled by a leash, they were not allowed in any ski resorts. The first snowboarders use to sneak into ski resorts at night and walk up the trails to avoid being caught.
Snowboarding didn't start to pick up until the 1980's. More companies went out and decided to develop on snowboard gear such as high back bindings and different construction of the boards. In 1981, the first national snowboarding championship was held at Suicide Six near Woodstock Vermont.
The sport took off and rapidly grew as time went on. New disciplines were being made such as half pipe, modules, and downhill. Since many new disciplines were being developed, boards, bindings, and boots were constantly improving and changing in order to accommodate the demands. Snowboarding was fresh and new and attracted many young riders. In 1985, only 7% of ski resorts allowed snowboarders. Because of it's popularity, many ski resorts decided to stop banning snowboarders and started to build half pipes and host events and competitions. Today, snowboarding is just as popular as skiing and has come a long way.

Christie Tran
Christie Tran