Skiers vs Snowboarders
The battle for the mountain has been fiercely fought ever since snowboarding began in 1965 with the humble Snurfer invented by Sherman Poppen to entertain his daughters. The snowboard has evolved through the 1970 and early 1980, and so did its reputation of rebellion. Many resorts refused entry to snowboard users deeming the sport dangerous, forcing riders to climb up un-pisted areas aiming to avoid mountain authorities.
The economic crash in America may have been the saving grace for snowboarding as a small number of resorts realized the financial possibilities of allowing the now vastly growing crowd of snowboarders to purchase lift passes. They expected hostility from skiers initially but as the years have passed, the sport of snowboarding has been accepted by the snow sports world with number of snowboarding competitions equalling that of skiers and even featured in the Olympics in 1998 in Japan.
For a long time the sport was dominantly associated with youth as many of the older generation stuck to skiing, whereas those who had experienced surfing and skateboarding found the transition very natural. Snowboarding found itself featured in popular skateboarding magazines and even in rap videos of the 1990s!
Snowboarding found itself on par with skiing commercially with many dedicated fans of the two skis picking up a board and never looking back. However New York Post recently published last January that the popularity in the sport was on the decline, dropping by 28% from 2003 to 2013.
One theory for this is that the old image of skiing had been pushed out by a new era of freestyle and off-piste skiers, making the sport ‘cool’ again.
In February those lucky few staying in the Espace Killy region of Val D’isere and Tignes witnessed skiier Vincent Gagnier win first place pulling some outrageous tricks on Europe’s biggest big air, Frostgun Invitational. This week also saw the return of SFR freestyle final, where skiers from America, France, Japan and New Zealand competed on an impressive half-pipe in Tignes Val Claret.
The fight is not over yet as only this year saw 8 year old Liam Thomas Bulmer land a double back flip on a board, and now Burton has set up youth academy dedicated to inspiring and developing new talent solely for the one board sport, just sit back and watch this space…