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.