Snowboarding is a boardsport that involves descending a snow-covered slope on a snowboard that is attached to one's feet. It is similar to skiing, but inspired by surfing and skateboarding. The sport was developed in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s and became a Winter Olympic Sport in 1998.
The history of the snowboard starts with pioneers like Ben Doan, Sherman Poppen (inventor of the Snurfer), Dimitrije Milovich, Bob Webber, Jake Burton Carpenter, Brandon Bridwell, Tom Sims, Mike Olson, Donavin Carlberg, Michael Mitchell, and Chuck Barfoot developing prototypes mainly inspired by surfboards in the 1970s. This process included different stages and individual ideas and resulted in several patents for snowboard-like constructions. One of the most notable however is Bob's patent from 1972, which he sold in 1990 to Jake Burton Carpenter, founder and owner of Burton Snowboards, today's largest manufacturer of snowboard-specific products.
During the early years of the sport, snowboards and snowboarders were not widely respected by the ski industry and culture. Snowboarding was seen as a fad. In reaction, Transworld Snowboarding created a popular t-shirt called "Answers," which included the answers to many questions posed by skiers, including: "Yes I can stop." Many resorts did not initially allow snowboards and those which did insisted on the use of leashes and were known to insist that riders prove their ability before being allowed on the hill.
The growing popularity of the sport is reflected by the history of snowboarding as an official sport: In 1985 the first World Cup is held in Zürs, Austria. Due to the need for universal contest regulations, the ISA (International Snowboard Association) was founded in 1994. Later, the ISF (International Snowboard Federation) originated primarily due to dissatisfaction with the new ISA rules. Despite this rivalry, it was their establishment which finally convinces the IOC to declare snowboarding a new Olympic discipline in 1995. Today, high-profile events like the Olympics, Winter X-Games, the US Open, and other events are broadcast to a worldwide audience.
Snowboard instruction from certified snowboard instructors is available at most ski resorts. Professional instruction is a good way to learn proper technique, safety policies, mountain etiquette and resort rules. Beginning snowboarders, whether young or old, should consider taking a series of lessons. Lessons are not only the fastest way to learn, but they also build confidence in sharing the mountain with other members of the snowboarding/ski community.
Snowboard lessons, as with ski lessons, can either be group or private lessons. Group lessons are cheaper, but often have a high student-teacher ratio, resulting in less individual attention. Private lessons can be taught one-on-one or between a small group. Private lessons are often more expensive than group, as it is the snowboarding analogue of being privately tutored. The rapport developed between an instructor and a student who returns for multiple lessons is the real benefit derived from private lessons; one is taught better by a teacher who knows them, and a student is more likely to heed the advice of someone they trust.
Typically, beginner snowboard lessons focus on very basic, common snowboarding skills. The first lesson often begins with basic safety policies, stretching, and learning to fall, then progresses to snowboarding with one foot on the board (particularly skating and S-turns). Learning to snowboard with one foot strapped into the board is a particularly useful skill because it is necessary to disembark from the lift successfully. Then students learn how to turn and stop with both feet in. Other important beginner skills to learn are the falling leaf technique, side-slipping, and lift procedures. More advanced techniques that are taught in later lessons are linking turns, edge control, weight distribution, edge pressure, and eventually carving. As students progress in ability they can seek out specialized instruction in areas such as riding steeper slopes and through a wider variety of snow conditions, terrain park skills (jumps, rails, and pipes), mogul technique, off-piste riding, powder riding, and racing.