Skiing & Snowboarding
Snow Skiing is a group of sports and activities holding in common the use of skis, devices which slide on snow and attach with ski bindings and ski boots to people’s feet. Skiing sports differ from snowshoeing in that skis slide, and they differ from ice-skating, water skiing, and in-line skating by being performed on snow. Although snowboarding shares the general characteristics of skiing sports, it evolved from surfing and skateboarding and so is not considered a type of skiing.
Skiing can be grouped into two general categories. Nordic skiing is the oldest category and includes sport that evolved from skiing as done in Scandinavia. Nordic style ski bindings attach at the toes of the skier’s ski boots, but not at the heels. Alpine skiing includes sports that evolved from skiing as done in the Alps. Alpine bindings attach at both the toe and the heel of ski boots. These two categories overlap with some sports potentially fitting into both. However, binding style and history indicate that each skiing sport is more one than the other. Some ski resorts, skiing sports such as Telemark skiing have elements of both categories, but its history in Telemark, Norway and free-heel binding style place Telemark skiing firmly in the Nordic category.
Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a snow-covered slope on a snowboard that is attached to one’s feet using a boot/binding interface. It is similar to skiing, but inspired by surfing and skateboarding. The sport was developed in the United States in the 1960s and the 1970s and became a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998. Some of its pioneers include: Craig Kelly, Tom Sims, Ben Kenison, Jake Burton Carpenter, and Terry Kidwell. It is constantly increasing in popularity.
The history of snowboarding started with pioneers like Sherman Poppen (the inventor of the first commercially made snowboard called the Snurfer from Muskegon, Michigan), Jake Burton (founder of Burton Snowboards from Londonderry, Vermont), Tom Sims (founder of Sims Snowboards), Mike Olson (GNU Snowboards).
Dimitrije Milovich, an east coast surfer, had the idea of sliding on cafeteria trays. From this he started developing his snowboard designs. In 1972, he started a company called the Winterstick; by 1975, The Winterstick was mentioned in Newsweek magazine. The Winterstick was based on the design and feel of a surfboard, but worked the same way as skis.
The growing popularity of snowboarding is reflected by recognition of snowboarding as an official sport: in 1985, the first World Cup was held in Zrs, Austria. Due to the need for universal contest regulations, the ISA (International Snowboard Association) was founded in 1994. Today, high-profile snowboarding events like the Olympics, Winter X-Games, the US Open, and other events are broadcast to a worldwide audience. It is also notable that the sport has had a significant impact on such countries that are largely without snow, such as Australia, and Afghanistan.