Snowboarding combines elements of skiing, skateboarding, and surfing. Riders slide down snowy slopes on a big ski-like board that is attached to the rider’s boots. Their feet are positioned perpendicularly to the board and its direction, much like skateboarding and surfing.
Snowboarding is believed to have originated in the US in the 1960s. The modern snowboard first appeared in 1965 by engineer Sherman Poppen, who is considered the father of snowboarding after attaching two skis together as a toy for his daughter. He patented the toy and licensed it out, creating opportunities for kids all around the U.S. to surf the snow.
The first World Championship halfpipe competition was held in 1983 and the first Snowboarding World Cup was held in 1985. The sport’s international governing body, the International Snowboarding Federation, was created in 1990. Snowboarding was added to the Olympics in the year 1998 and has continued to grow in popularity since then.
The major types of snowboarding competitions are:
• Freestyle – the use of features like boxes, rails, handrails, and other obstacles to perform aerial maneuvers and tricks.
• Alpine - snowboarding downhill either racing against another rider or the time and maneuvering between poles or gates.
• Halfpipe and Superpipe – halfpipe is the most famous type of snowboarding contest. It is performed in a half tube of snow. They are 11 to 22 feet high with 16 and 18-degree slopes.
• Slopestyle – this course consists of 3 or 4 large jumps and 3 or 4 obstacles to display the rider’s creativity in avoiding the obstacles while jumping.
• Snowboard Cross (Boardercross) - a race of four riders speeding down a course that borrows certain motocross features like sharp banked turns, rollers and jumps. It has been an Olympic sport since 2006.
• Big Air – a freestyle event where riders perform a big jump and perform spins, flips and other tricks in the air before sticking their landing in the snow. The jumps are evaluated by the judges and the highest score wins.