history of snowboarding

Perhaps owing to the manner in which the practice of snowboarding developed from the practice of skiing, there has long been some resentment between snowboarders and skiers throughout the history of snowboarding. However, this has begun to die down in recent years, as so many ski resorts now permit snowboarders to enjoy their slopes. Perhaps this helps to explain the status of snowboarding as the fastest-growing sport in the United States.

Though skiing and snowboarding obviously have their similarities, there are also some subtle but crucial differences. For one, snowboarding can often be easier to learn, perhaps explaining the popularity of snowboarding among teenagers and young adults. Snowboarding also tends to put less pressure on the knees, with the result that knee injuries are less common than with skiing. And finally, though getting up after a fall off a snowboard can be a real skill in itself, once mastered, it can be easier and faster than recovering following a fall from skis.

There are many snowboarders who have played their own crucial role in the history of snowboarding, from the 1960s to today. Here is just a modest selection.

Jake Burton Carpenter

Carpenter is considered by many to have played a hugely significant role in the invention and history of snowboarding, as he was responsible for founding, in 1977, what is now the world's largest snowboard manufacturer, Burton Snowboards.

Tom Sims

Sims is considered similarly influential in the history of snowboarding, as he founded one of today's largest snowboard manufacturers, Sims Snowboards, in the 1970s. Before then, in the 1960s, he had made one of the first recognisable snowboards through attaching carpet and aluminium sheeting to a piece of wood.

Shaun White

As one of America's most famous professional snowboarders, White boasts a staggering array of achievements on his glittering CV. He has, for instance, won gold medals at both the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, and was the first snowboarder to land back to back double corks at the Red Bull superpipe and win back-to-back gold medals in the Winter X-Games Superpipe.

Todd Richards

This man's place in the history of snowboarding is indisputable. As well as winning five out of the seven halfpipe competitions he entered in the 1997–98 season, pioneering the snowboard trick "the wet cat", and being a member of the 1998 US Olympic Halfpipe Team, he has also been an announcer at snowboard events, like the Winter X Games.

Tora Bright

This young Australian snowboarder turned professional aged 14, finished fifth in snowboarding at the 2006 Winter Olympics, and won gold in the halfpipe at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Hannah Teter

Like Tora Bright, this female snowboarder may be young, but she already boasts a fantastic CV. For a start, she is an Olympic Champion, having won the gold medal in halfpipe at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

Lesley McKenna

Despite beginning her career as a skier, this British woman has competed in three Winter Olympic Games in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and founded the British Women's Snowboarding Team.

Terje Håkonsen

This Norwegian snowboarder's amazing achievements have seen him dubbed the "Michael Jordan" and "the god" of snowboarders. His place in the history of snowboarding is particularly assured by his winning the ISF World Championships in half-pipe three times in a row, and creating the aerial snowboard manoeuvre The Haakon Flip.

Craig Kelly

Before his tragic accidental death in 2003, Kelly won four World Championships, three US Open championship titles, and the moniker of the 'Godfather of Freeriding'. Dubbed by Terje Håkonsen as the best snowboarder of all time, Kelly's place in the history of snowboarding is thoroughly assured.