Snowboarding as we know it has been around for quite some time. But until 1917, it wasn’t really a thing. That was when Vern Wicklund stood on his modified sled. From that point, he would go on to patent and produce a handful of models.
That is just the beginning. The history of snowboarding is an interesting one that spans over a century of innovation and development.
Though the sport was created in the early 1900s, it really didn’t start to see major development until around 1965. Michigan’s Sherman Poppen would create what is known as the Snurfer, combining skis and adding a strong for steering at the front.
But in 1972, a modern breakthrough happened. Winterstick was founded, becoming the first modern snowboarding company. They would go with a laminated fiberglass body, steel edges, and the nylon straps for the rider’s feet.
Shortly after the founding of Winterstick, snowboarding started to go mainstream. The rivalry between Tom Sims and Jake Burton Carpenter would become the sport’s first great one. Carpenter was more of a race enthusiast who coined the term “snowboarding” while Sims was a skateboarder who was more concerned with tricks.
The two had a major philosophical battle and showed the different styles of snowboarding that could simultaneously exist. It was a real change for the sport, allowing it to grow in popularity with these two at the forefront.
As with skateboarding, snowboarding has since taken on a bit of a counterculture narrative. For a long time, it was thought to be a sport for those who loved danger. It was even banned in North American ski resorts in the 1980s.
By the 1990s, though, riding was allowed and more trick riders were starting to become the norm. The largest happening in snowboarding came in 1998 with the inclusion of the sport in the Winter Olympics. Since then, it has become a huge draw for the Games and has spawned millions of snowboarders not only in North America, but also around the world.