snowboarders

There has been a long history of rivalry between skiers and snowboarders, as evidenced in the strong resentment towards snowboarders from skiers up until recent times, as more and more skiing resorts have permitted areas for snowboarders to practice too. Indeed, snowboarding is currently the fastest-growing sport in the United States, owing perhaps to the number of teenage and young adult snowboarders.

There are many subtle differences between skiing and snowboarding, one being that the latter can often be easier to learn. Knee injuries are also less common in snowboarding, and though getting up following a fall off a snowboard can prove a real skill in itself, once mastered, it should prove easier and faster than recovering after falling off skis.

Here is a selection of some of the world's most famous snowboarders, both today and of times past.

Jake Burton Carpenter

Carpenter has a special place in the history of snowboarding as a sport, as he founded what is today the world's largest snowboard manufacturer, Burton Snowboards, and even won, as the sole entrant, what is now considered the first snowboarders competition in 1979.

Tom Sims

Sims has a similarly pivotal role in the history of the development of snowboarding. In the 1960s, Sims made one of the first recognisable snowboards through attaching carpet and aluminium sheeting to, respectively, the top and bottom of a piece of wood. He then later founded snowboard manufacturers Sims Snowboards in the 1970s.

Shaun White

One of the most famous American professional snowboarders, White has won gold medals at both the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, and has many other snowboarding-related achievements to his name, including being the first of all snowboarders to land back to back double corks at the Red Bull superpipe, plus being the first of all snowboarders to win back-to-back gold medals in the Winter X-Games Superpipe.

Todd Richards

This man's proudest moments include participating in the first Olympic snowboarding event in Nagano, Japan, in 1998, and winning five out of the seven halfpipe competitions he entered in the 1997–98 season. He is similarly renowned for pioneering the snowboard trick "the wet cat", and for being the US snowboarding commentator for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Shannon Dunn-Downing

In her time as a professional snowboarder from the early 1990s until the mid 2000s, when she retired to concentrate on raising her family, 5'2" Dunn became the first American to win a snowboarders medal at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. There, she won bronze in the halfpipe competition. Her other achievements include finishing 5th at the 2002 Winter Olympics and winning a gold medal at each of the Winter X Games in 1997 and 2001.

Terje Håkonsen

With his amazing tricks and run of competition wins, it is little wonder that this Norwegian snowboarder has garnered huge respect from fellow snowboarders, and been dubbed the "Michael Jordan" and "the god" of snowboarders. Among his many staggering achievements are winning the ISF World Championships in half-pipe three times in a row, and creating the aerial snowboard manoeuvre known as The Haakon Flip.

Craig Kelly

Before his tragic death in 2003 during an avalanche in British Columbia at the age of 36, Kelly was regarded as one of the planet's greatest snowboarders, having won four World Championship and three US Open championship titles. No wonder, then, that he has been widely dubbed the 'Godfather of Freeriding', and has been cited by Terje Håkonsen as the best snowboarder of all time! He has certainly proved an inspiration to many snowboarders.