History of Snowboarding Part I - 1960s-1970s
By Lee Crane
1965--Sherman Poppen invents The Snurfer for his daughter Wendy by bolting two skis together.
1970--Inspired by sliding on cafeteria trays in upstate New York, East Coast surfer Dimitrije Milovich starts developing snowboards based on surfboard design with a rudimentary idea of how skis work. The boards had metal edges.
1971--According to Milovich, he is granted a patent for his snowboard design so he could sell the idea to ski companies. The patent didn't expire until1988 and Milovich declines from enforcing the patent with other companies.
1969-1972--Bob Webber spends several years trying to obtain a patent for his early "skiboard" design. This takes him until 1972 to get, and he later sells the patent to Jake Burton Carpenter on August 17, 1990.
1975-- Dimitrije Milovich sets up Winterstick production in Utah. The metal edges from his early boards are removed because Milovich was riding powder over his head and didn't need them. Milovich also develops a swallowtail board based on the same design in surfboards, and, one year later a double-edged design which he got a patent on.
1975--Milovich and Winterstick are written up in the March issue of Newsweek and have a two-page photo spread in Powder, giving snowboarding some early national exposure.
1977--Mike Olson builds his first snowboard in jr. high wood shop. He continued to modify boards in high school and beyond, until 1984, when he quits college to start Gnu.
1977-- Jake Burton Carpenter moves to Stratton Mountain, Vermont, working nights as a bartender and designing the prototypes for what will later be Burton Snowboards during the day. Like Sims, he also claims to have been modifying Snurfers since high school.
1977--Milovich obtains a written confirmation from Petit-Morey and Kendall Insurance, the insurance brokers for America's ski resorts, that snowboards are in fact covered under regular ski liability. This proves that resort acceptance was based on the mountain manager's preference just as we suspected.
1977--Bob Webber designs the "yellow banana" polyethylene molded bottom and Tom Sims tacks on the Lonnie Toft skate deck making the first production"Skiboard" under the Sims name.
1978--Milovich says that by this year he sells Wintersticks in 11 different foreign countries.
1978--Chuck Barfoot develops a fiberglass prototype snowboard and he and Bob Webber take it out to Utah for a test run. Barfoot later goes on to design boards with Tom Sims.
1979--At the annual Snurfer contest held in Michigan, sponsored Snurfer pro Paul Graves puts on a freestyle demo and wows the crowd by doing four sliding 360's, dropping down on one knee for part of the course, and dismounting his board at the finish with a front flip. At the same event, Jake Burton Carpenter tries to enter on his own equipment. There are protests about his non-Snurfer snowboard design. Paul Graves and others stand up for Jake's right to race and an open division is created which only Jake enters and wins.
1979-- Paul Graves appears riding a Snurfer in the first T.V. snowboarding commercial for LaBatt's beer which runs four years in Canada and the northern U.S.
1979-- Mark Anolik discovers the Tahoe City Halfpipe while nosing around behind the Tahoe City dump. This becomes known as the world's first snowboard halfpipe and attracts the likes of Terry Kidwell, Keith Kimmel, and photographers from the skateboard magazines.
1979-1980--Skateboarder and Action Now magazines both print early features on the rising sport of snowboarding