Snowboarding is the fastest growing winter sport and is set to become
even more popular than skiing. It is hard to say who actually "invented"
the first snowboard because it was influenced by many different people
including Sherman Poppen, Demetrije Milovich, Tom Sims and Jake Burton
Carpenter. Snowboarding's roots, however, may be traced back to the
early 1920's. Then children in Vermont built what would now be
considered makeshift snowboards out of barrel staves and rode them
sideways down a snowy hill.
Later, there were some people, who built snowboard like sleds.
One of them was M.J. "Jack" Burchett. He cut out a plank of plywood in
1929 and tried to secure his feet with some clothesline and horse reins.
Burchett came up with on of the first "snowboards".
Another snowboard inventor is Sherman Poppen. In 1965 Poppen, a chemical
gases engineer in Muskegon, Michigan, invented "The Snurfer" (a mix
between the two words „snow" and „surfer") as a toy for his daughter. He
made the Snurfer by strapping two skis together and attaching a rope to
the front tip of the snurfer, so the rider could hold it and keep it
more stable. Many of his daughters friends wanted one of those new
Snurfers, and soon Poppen lincensed his new idea to a manufacturer.
Short after that Jake Burton Carpenter (a today's most popular
snowboard factory "Burton Snowboards) used ski technology in snowboards.
In 1977, at the age of 23, Jake Burton founded his own company in
Londonderry, Vermont, and experimented continually with new materials
and designs. Eventually, he was building a snowboard made of steam-bent
wood and fiberglass, with high-back bindings and metal edges.
Another snowboard manufacturing pioneer is the former skateboard
champion Tom Sims. Back in 1963, as an eighth-grader, Sims made a
snowboard out of plywood in his shop class. He called it a "skiboard".
After years of improvements, he opened Sims Snowboards in 1977 and with
the help of his friend and employee Chuck Barfoot started making
snowboards. Barfoot, who actually made the snowboards, came up with the
"Flying Yellow Banana".
Snowboarding continued to increase in popularity over the next
years but for a long time, snowboarders were seen as society's outcasts.
Ski resorts banned them and the upper-middle-class ski community looked
down upon them. In 1985 snowboarding was only allowed in 7% of U. S.
ski areas and story was much the same in Europe. As equipment and skill
levels improved, though, snowboarding gradually became more acceptable.
Most of the major ski areas had separate slopes for snowboarders by
1990. Now, about 97% of all ski areas in North America and Europe allow
snowboarding and more than half of them have ramps and pipes. The number
of snowboarders increased from about 2 million in 1990 to more than 7
million in 2000. It is predicted that the snowboarders will outnumber
skiers by 2015.