History of Snowboarding
Common wisdom dictates that snowboarding is a relatively new phenomenon. However, contrary to popular belief, snowboarding is actually around fifty years old and the first commercial snowboard, which appeared after surfers had developed ad hoc alternatives a decade earlier, arose in 1965 in the shape of Sherman Poppen`s Snurfer. In regard to this product, which was developed in Michigan, USA, many consumers were confused as to what exactly it was and, in so much as it appeared to be the illegitimate offspring of a skateboard and sled, snowboarding did not quite take off as it has done in more recent times.
Nevertheless, Sherman Poppen redesigned his early board and went on to sell around 500,000 Snurfers, which is arguably far more than the market at that time demanded. Indeed, Snurfers, which were primarily seen as children`s toys, were eventually superseded by Jake Burton`s more contemporary designs. Indeed, it was Burton`s designs that were ultimately attributable to the rise of snowboarding not just in the US but across the world, including the United Kingdom. Of course, the UK does not usually experience the necessary weather conditions that give rise to natural snowboarding venues, so the growth of the sport in the UK is mostly confined to seasonal trips abroad (mostly Europe) and indoor venues.
In respect to the indoor snowboarding venues in Britain, there are at least eight major spots that are either open or due to be open. The Milton Keynes Xscape SNO!zone, Castleford Xscape, Glasgow Braehead Xscape, Chill Factor (Manchester), Tamworth Snowdome (Staffordshire), The Snow Centre (Hemel Hempstead) and Wycombe Snowdome are all currently open to the public, whilst the SnOasis is due to open in 2012. In respect to the SNO!zone in Milton Keynes, this large indoor snowboarding spot features two 170m slopes, a 135m training slope and approximately one and a half tonnes of snow that is set in an environment that is pleasantly chilled at around -2 degrees centigrade. At various times of the year, natural snowboarding spots can be found across Scotland, Wales and the higher slopes in Britain. Nevertheless, most UK snowboarders will journey to Europe for their action.
In terms of who the best snowboarders of all time are, many people will suggest that the aforementioned Jake Burton and Todd Richards, a US Olympic free-styler, are among the best ever. Of course, snowboarding has moved on considerably since the days of the Snurfer and similar boards, so there is now a range of equipment and accessories that can be purchased. Obviously, a suitably sized snowboard is essential for such an adventure, whilst it is equally important to wear protective clothing that is able to keep the body insulated whilst wicking sweat away from the skin and providing an element of cushioning against knocks and falls. Goggles, helmets and gloves are also necessary. Furthermore, it is important that snowboarders look just as good off the slopes as they do on them, so
roxy clothes are well worth considering in this respect.
4 Life started it's own contribution to snowboard streetwear in 2003 and as well
as the main brand offers clothing from Epic
Apparel in 2008 and Aspect Snow in
2009. We will be bringing you more designs and brands as the winters roll by.