Hitting the slopes can be exhilarating, especially when you’re a seasoned snowboarding pro. But no matter your skill level, you can make an upcoming snowboard session more interesting by exploring these surprising facts about snowboarding.
Here are 21 surprising facts about snowboarding:
- Turkish people may have used the first snowboards
- Austrian miners created unique wooden snowboards
- Modern snowboards were invented in Michigan
- The Snurfer was the first commercially available snowboard
- Snowboarding is part of the International Ski Federation
- The most expensive snowboard sold for over $33,000!
- There are ten standard snowboarding styles
- Not all snowboards are the same shape or size
- Some professional snowboarders are millionaires
- Snowboarding finally became an Olympic sport in 1998
- There are ten Olympic snowboarding events today
- The first snowboarder gold medalist was almost disqualified
- Barret Christy holds the most snowboarding medals won
- Snowboarding can be more dangerous than skiing
- The US has the most Olympic snowboarding medals
- Snowboarding was featured in a James Bond film
- More than 30% of snowboarders are 17 or younger
- Snowboarding burns hundreds of calories per hour
- Utah is the most popular destination for snowboarders
- The FIS Snowboard World Cup happens every year
- There’s a world record for snowboarders in swimwear
Keep reading to explore these surprising facts and learn more about our fast-paced winter sport. Alternatively, check out these snowboarding puns. Let’s go!
Surprising Facts About Snowboarding
1. Turkish People May Have Used the First Snowboards
If you’ve heard of Lazboard, you’re likely to be familiar with Turkish snowboarding.
This traditional board-based sport may have developed hundreds of years ago, making it one of the first examples of snowboarding in the world.
2. Austrian Miners Created Unique Wooden Snowboards
Reaching the bottom of a snowy mountain can be an exhausting experience.
Anecdotal evidence purports that Austrian miners in the 16th through 19th centuries made short work of this journey by riding flat wooden planks down snowy slopes. The first European snowboarding events may have incorporated these simple boards.
3. Modern Snowboards Were Invented in Michigan
Though there are examples of early snowboards dating back hundreds of years, modern snowboards weren’t invented until 1965.
You can trace the origin of these contemporary boards to Sherman Poppen, a man living in Muskegon, Michigan, who fixed two skis together to make a single board for snowy outdoor fun.
4. The Snurfer Was the First Commercially Available Snowboard
After Poppen’s rudimentary invention proved successful, he created a patent for an item called The Snurfer (a combination of ‘snow’ and ‘surfer’).
This wide ski would eventually become the first snowboard! You can still buy Snurfer-brand snowboards to this day! Like this one (Amazon affiliate link)
5. Snowboarding Is Part Of The International Ski Federation
Though you might think the International Ski Federation (FIS) is only interested in providing resources for skiers, they’re the primary international snowboarding association.
Without this organization’s support, snowboarding might have never become an Olympic sport.
6. The Most Expensive Snowboard Sold For Over $33,000
The priciest modern snowboard was previously the 1983 Black Widow, a Burton board owned and used by Bob Novak, a champion Snurfer.
This board features Novak’s signature. It sold for $11,732 on eBay in 2013!
According to the board’s seller, the last time the board was used was when Bob Novak won first place in 1984.
Edit: This has since been broken when this 1977 Burton Experimental Prototype sold on ebay for $33,131,13!
7. There Are Ten Standard Snowboarding Styles
There are quite a few snowboarding styles, each tailored to specific skill levels and preferences.
For example, freestyle snowboarding involves tricks, while free-carve snowboarding is geared toward rapid movement. Board types also reflect these styles.
8. Not All Snowboards Are the Same Shape or Size
Snowboards can be shorter than 32 in (81.3 cm) or even longer than 100 in (254 cm), depending on the snowboarder’s age, weight, and size.
Check out the nitro cannon (affiliate link) which is 203cm long!!
Snowboards also come in several distinct shapes, though flat and camber shapes are some of the most common.
Snowboards are typically divided into three categories:
- All Mountain
Alpine boards are best for quickly zooming down steep mountainsides, while freestyle snowboards are better suited to tricks and slower speeds.
9. Some Professional Snowboarders Are Millionaires
Professional baseball and football players aren’t the only athletes becoming millionaires.
Competition wins, merchandise sales, and public appearances help pro-level snowboarders like Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn, and Ted Ligety earn millions each year!
10. Snowboarding Finally Became an Olympic Sport in 1998
Though snowboarding isn’t the newest Olympic sport (that honor goes to breakdancing), it’s one of the most recently added events.
Before 1998, snowboarding wasn’t part of the international Olympic games. But since then, it has become an integral part of the winter games.
11. There Are Ten Olympic Snowboarding Events Today
In 1998, there were only four Olympic snowboarding events:
- Men’s giant slalom
- Women’s giant slalom
- Men’s halfpipe
- Women’s halfpipe
Nowadays, there are more than twice that, including slopestyle, big air, and cross events.
12. The First Snowboarder Gold Medalist Was Almost Disqualified
The first Olympic snowboarding event in 1998 was the men’s giant slalom. Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati won the gold medal during this competition.
But he was briefly disqualified when his urine tested positive for THC. Fortunately, Rebagliati’s gold medal was restored a few days later.
Funnily enough, he now runs a medical cannabis company!
13. Barret Christy Holds The Most Snowboarding Medals Won
Men may still dominate snowboarding competition viewership, but that didn’t stop snowboarding champion Barret Christy from grabbing the most ever medals!
Barret is the holder of ten Winter X Games medals for various snowboarding disciplines.
Her achievements prove that women, too, can kickass at snowboarding!
14. Snowboarding Can Be More Dangerous Than Skiing
The most common injuries associated with snowboarding are broken wrists and collarbones.
Additionally, snowboarders may be up to 70% more likely to injure themselves while on the slopes than skiers. That’s why safety gear (like helmets) is vital when snowboarding.
Read more on the dangers of snowboarding here.
15. The US Has The Most Olympic Snowboarding Medals
The United States has more Olympic medals in snowboarding than any other country.
In 2022, the United States held 35 total Olympic medals in snowboarding, more than double the amount earned by countries like Canada and Switzerland (both of which have more than a dozen).
16. Snowboarding Was Featured in a James Bond Film
Even 007, the fictional British spy James Bond, has tried snowboarding.
You can catch Bond (portrayed by Roger Moore) tearing up the slopes in the 1985 film, A View To A Kill. This iconic scene helped boost snowboarding’s visibility and popularity.
You can watch the clip in our article The 9 Most Famous Snowboarders Of All Time (under Tom Sims).
17. More Than 30% of Snowboarders Are 17 or Younger
While you can snowboard well into late adulthood, snowboarding is a physically-demanding sport that requires physical strength and balance.
Consequently, more than a quarter (about 34%) of all snowboarders are teens and children.
18. Snowboarding Burns Hundreds Of Calories Per Hour
Do you know that you can burn up to hundreds of calories per hour while snowboarding?
In fact, the average person will burn about 450 calories when snowboarding for one hour.
This means that you could burn an entire pound of body fat by shredding powder daily for a week. There might not be a more exciting way to shed some weight!
19. Utah Is the Most Popular Destination For Snowboarders
Utah is home to dozens of resorts, many of which attract snowboarders from around the globe.
However, the Park City Mountain Resort (in Park City, Utah) might be the most popular destination. This tiny city attracts about 600,000 visitors annually, many of whom spend time on the slopes.
20. The FIS Snowboard World Cup Happens Every Year
The international FIS Snowboard World Cup is like the FIFA World Cup, but it happens every year from October until March.
Thanks to the International Ski Federation, the event has been going since 1994.
The international FIS Snowboard World Cup takes place worldwide, and a new city hosts the competition each year.
21. There’s A World Record For Snowboarders In Swimwear
In 2016, more than 1,100 snowboarders and skiers enjoyed the snowy mountain slopes of the Sheregesh Resort in Siberia.
In doing so, they set a new world record for the most snowboarders (and skiers) wearing their swimwear!
I hope you’ve enjoyed our list of surprising facts about snowboard.
What was the point of this article?
Entertainment I guess!
Can you think of any essential snowboarding facts I’ve missed out?
Drop me a comment below.