Personal Interest: Snowboarding

Essay by djdatnastyCollege, Undergraduate March 2003

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Imagine a sport that combines the beauty of surfing, the high-speed thrill of downhill skiing, the punk styles of skateboarding, and the grace of ballet. That sport is snowboarding. Standing sideways on my snowboard, I love the thrill of gliding down mountain slopes at speeds up to 65 miles per hour. I love to spray snow into the air like frozen rainbows. At times, I would daringly jump off cliffs into soft, white snow and I'm always thinking of what stunts or tricks that I'll do on the next run. During breaks, I also enjoy sitting down to relax and look down at the tremendous view that Mother Nature has to offer.

Snowboarding began in the 1960s when an American surfer, Sherman Poppen, invented the snurfer for his children by bolting two skis together. A rider would hold a rope attached to the snurfer's nose (front section) for stability. Poppen then sold his idea to Brunswick Sporting Goods, which marketed for $15 a piece.

In the early 1970s, a "snurf freak" named Jake Burton saw a future in his pastime and took it upon himself to improve it. Burton attached rubber straps to his board for better control. The result was a breakthrough that led him to start a company in Vermont, the beginnings of the now famous Burton brand name. But Jake Burton was just one of many snowboarding pioneers. In 1963, skateboard world champion, Tom Sims, built the first known snowboard. Later on in 1975, an engineer named Dimitrije Molovich had formed a company called "Winterstick" to make epoxy/fiberglass boards. Finally in 1983, a snowboarder named Jeff Grell made the binding system that was effective in all snow conditions. Grell's binding surrounded the snowboarder's foot with a hard plastic shell. The shell was clamped tightly to the...