The rise and fall of snowboarding |

The rise and fall of snowboarding

Dear Editor:

For all the snowboarder enthusiasts in the Aspen area who have an interest in the history of snowboarding (all three of you), I am presenting here for you a concise time log of the popular sport.

From its humble beginnings it has grown to become a worldwide phenomena and an annoyance to parents everywhere:

3,238 B.C. – The first recorded snowboarder was Og, who, shearing the smooth bark off a birch tree in the upper levels of the Aladaglar Mountains in what is present-day Turkey, had a dim thought come into his mind that he could attach the frozen bark to his feet and ride down to his lair a few hundred feet lower. Og’s attempt was successful, except that he karmatically plowed into the same tree that he had gotten the bark from becoming the first snowboarding fatality and successfully halting any further development of the sport for another 2,415 years.

762 B.C. – Norwegian vikings develop the art of moving across their frozen landscape on wooden apparatuses that were the forerunners to skis. Younger vikings, wanting to break tradition and tick off their parents at the same time, invent a similar skill using a apparatus mounted to both feet. The sports dies quickly as they are all kicked out of the house and told to “get a job.”

579 A.D. – Kahanua Loboshea, champion surfer of the Hawaiian Island of Maui, gets the radical idea to try using his surfboard to come down the sacred mountain Haleakala which is bedecked by snow. Unfortunately Kahanua wears his scanty Hawaiian beach gear to the top of the mountain and is frozen solid halfway down. Found 137 years later, he nonetheless becomes a part of the island’s many legends, although a dumb one.

1965 A.D. – Sherman Poppin binds two skis together and adds a rope to the front of it for his daughter and calls it “The Snurfer.” His daughter is still undergoing therapy for the trauma to this day.

1969 A.D. – Dimitrije Milovich gets the idea for making one of the first real snowboards from sliding down cafeteria trays in college. For this exploit he became the first (and not the last) snowboarder kicked out of school.

1980 A.D. – Jake Burton’s Winterstick is a hit because one has to crouch to use it like a Neanderthal and is what attracts a lot of future snowboarders who are not sure of their place on the human evolutionary scale and find the knuckle dragging aspect of it appealing.

1982 A.D. – The first snowboarders, after much misgiving, are allowed to ski down the famed A-Basin resort. They manage to snow plow all the snow off the mountain down to the soil level. The angered ski crowd almost catches and lynches them, but the two successfully get away by setting another record of being the first (and not the last) snowboarders to go out of bounds on a slope. They are believed to be hiding out in Bolivia.

1991 A.D. – Johnny Malachite, carrying his snowboard horizontally across his shoulders as he gets off the lift on Copper Mountain, Colorado, becomes the first (and not the last) snowboarder to be picked up by a strong mountain gust and pinwheeled off the mountain like a helicopter. Ski patrollers to this day are still looking for his body believed to be somewhere between Denver and Sacramento.

1993 A.D. – The craze of wearing your pants low “gangster style” catches on with snowboarders. The number of ski patrollers treating leg fractures goes up as do humorous snowboarding videos on YouTube.

2016 A.D. – The popularity of snowboarding begins to decline as older people (ie. those over 24) make up more of the demographic. The rebel appeal of the sport is badly diluted by 60-year-olds “getting gnarly” on the slope.

2020 A.D. – The sport of snowboarding is now overshadowed by a new snow sport called “dogging” in which participants go down hill on all fours with a short, ski-like device attached to their shins and forearms. The sport is wildly popular with the young crowd and also with hospitals who see a dramatic increase in their bed occupancy as the sport catches on. Face plants are the most common form of injury.

2021A.D. – A new fad infests the dying art of snowboarding – downhillers determine it cool to wear suits and ties while boarding. The death knell for the underground image of the sport has sounded.

Roger Freed


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User