The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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Early controversy surrounds snowboarding

Senior Teagen Alexander hits air off a snow ramp while snowboarding at Massanutten Mountain on Jan. 14, 2024. Photo used with permission from Tracy Alexander.

Skiers hate them. Resorts banned them. People sued them. The early exposure to snowboarding alarmed everyone on the slopes. 

Foot-to-foot skiing has been around since the dawn of winter sports. It grew significantly in popularity in the 1960s to the point where Sherman Poppin, the inventor, had the idea to bolt the skis together as a single board. He then attached a string for steering and named it the “Snurfer.” His invention made its way to thousands of households and eventually even ski resorts. 

 “I’ve tried skiing, but I can’t imagine going down the mountain any other way than with my snowboard,” said sophomore Aidan Benson. 

The initial concept was tested by a student at Cornell University who used two cafeteria trays as a snowboard down nearby snowy hills. He evolved the idea into “a device made to surf the snow,” according to 

This invention revolutionized ski resorts but did not get praise until years later. 

“Snowboarding feels like you’re surfing down the mountain,” said senior Teagen Alexander. 

The origin of snowboarding resulted in many unhappy skiers who were unfamiliar with the new technique. It was labeled dangerous and reckless, some ski resorts even banned anyone from carrying one, according to Smithsonian Magazine. 

“Snowboarding during the early stages was a lot different to be fair,” said senior Landon Luzak. “It was less sophisticated than it is today, and no one was very good at it, so it caused many accidents.”

Snowboarding was just an early development; there weren’t even defined skills yet. For instance, carving was yet to be discovered, so snowboarders had no way to control their speed, taking out skiers all the way down the mountain. It wasn’t until the invention of the carving technique, similar to that of surfing, that snowboarders could finally control their speed and ride safely down the mountain. Eventually, snowboarding became accepted after a decade of trial. It grew so great in popularity among teenagers that ski resorts were forced to allow them to operate. Now, snowboarding is one of the most watched Olympic sports. 

“I used to have a problem with snowboarders. They always took up so much space and would fly down the mountain without any caution at all,” said junior Shreya Behl. “It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that snowboarders are actually really cool, and if you stay out of their way, they will stay clear of you.”

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About the Contributor
Barrett Scharfe, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Barrett started journalism as a sophomore. He is entering his third year as co-editor-in-chief. He's captain of the volleyball team, president of both Spikeball Club and Pickleball Club and also a member of the varsity soccer team since freshman year. He's a Sandbridge lifeguard, surfs regularly and also particpates in skimboard competitions.

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