Jul 30, 2015
Outside Magazine

Jake Burton with a 1979 BB1 snowboard.    Photo: Tim Tomkinson

A snowsports alternative to skiing. In 1977, after adding bindings to his Snurfer, Jake Burton founded Burton, the first snowboard company. For the next decade, the former Wall Street investor led the upstart sport’s expansion by expertly cultivating snowboarding’s counter-culture image and simultaneously courting mainstream acceptance. (Free Taos! Free Alta!) By the nineties, snowboarding rivaled skiing in popularity, and as the sport siphoned away potential skiers, it also spurred its rival to modernize. Twin-tipped, rockered, and powder-specific fat skis, which started appearing in 2002, all owe their existence to ideas developed by snowboard designers.

Today, skiing, which has nearly eight million participants, has reclaimed its dominance over snowboarding, which has six million, but the sport continues to take design cues from its rebellious cousin. Recently, snowboard ideas like MagneTraction (a serrated-edge design) and a variety of cambers—the convex or concave shapes on the bottom of boards, intended to maximize performance in everything from ice to powder—have been adopted by ski shapers.

Ban Together

Three resorts still prohibit snowboarding, but there are ways around that.

Alta, Utah
Poach It: Uphill traffic isn’t allowed during the resort season—but is before and after. 

Deer Valley, Utah
Poach It: The heavily enforced ban on skinning up is easier to flout when the resort is closed for the season.

Mad River Glen, Vermont
Poach It: Uphill traffic is allowed when the lifts aren’t running.

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