How Snowboarding Works

By: Stephanie Watson

Mavericks of Snowboarding

By the 1960s, surfers and skateboarders were starting to get an itch to practice their sports year-round. Three men -- Dimitrije Milovich, Jake Burton Carpenter and Tom Sims -- would make this possible by borrowing technologies from each of their favorite sports.

Dimitrije Milovich was a surfer from the East Coast who used cafeteria trays to slide down snowy hills. In 1970, Milovich used the basic design of a surfboard to create a snowboard with a swallowtail shape (it has a "V" cut out in the back).


Tom Sims was a skateboarder who, in the 1960s, tinkered with his board during shop class at Haddonfield Middle School in New Jersey. He added bindings so that he could strap on his feet, put aluminum sheeting on the bottom and called his contraption the "Skiboard." He went on to found his own company, Sims Snowboards, in the late '70s.

Jake Burton Carpenter was a skier when he bought his first Snurfer and began modifying it. He added strips of rubber to hold his feet to the board, which gave him more freedom of movement. In 1977, he started his own company, Burton Snowboards, which helped lead to the 1979 demise of the Snurfer and the rise of the snowboard.

During the '70s, snowboard manufacturers added a few changes, like adding metal edges and narrowing the center of the board to make turning easier. A group of adventurous snowboarders in Lake Tahoe, Calif., discovered the first halfpipe -- a U-shaped structure that enabled them to catch air and perform tricks. In the 1980s and '90s, the sport began to come into its own and surged in popularity.

What gear do you need before you hit the slopes? How is a snowboard designed? Go to the next section to find out.­