Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Zach. Zach Wonders, “When did snowboarding start?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Zach!

Do you like to play in the snow? Many kids rush outside on a snowy day for a snowball fight. Others build snow castles or snowmen. Do you live near a tall hill? If so, you might trek there on a snowy day for the joy of sledding all the way down!

If you’ve ever been to a ski resort, you know that some hills are snowy all year round! People can ride a ski lift to their favorite slopes to practice their favorite sport. But did you know that skis aren’t the only equipment that can take you down those slopes? Many people ride down on a snowboard instead! 

Many people say snowboarding started in the 1960s in the United States. In fact, the precursor of the modern snowboard was created in 1965. Called the “Snurfer,” it was two skis bolted together. Many people call the Snurfer’s inventor, Sherman Poppen, the “father of the snowboard.”

However, the practice of surfing down snowy hills on single boards dates back many years. Some believe it started with 16th Century miners in Austria. They rode a “knappenroesser,” which was a long wooden board with a rope or handlebar.  Around the same time, people in the Swiss Alps used a similar device called a “ritprätt.” 

Since then, the snowboard has gone through many changes. It may have started as a method of transportation, but snowboarding is a sport today. The first modern snowboarding company, Winterstick, opened in 1974. However, it would be a few more years before the sport caught on.

The first National Snow Surfing Championship took place in 1982 in Vermont. This competition included 125 snowboarders. Today, this race is called the US Open Snowboarding Championship. It’s one of snowboarding’s biggest events. It draws crowds of 30,000!

However, it took awhile for ski resorts to get on board (pun intended!). They claimed that snowboards were much more dangerous than skis. For that reason, they banned snowboards from their slopes. In 1984, a few resorts started allowing the boards. By 1990, most ski resorts had dropped their snowboard bans. Today, only three North American ski resorts still ban snowboards.

Snowboarding continued to spread. It even became an Olympic sport in 1998. However, many people still WONDER whether snowboarding is safe. Sliding down the side of a snowy mountain on a thin board sounds scary to many people. 

However, some studies have found that snowboarding is safer than skiing. In both sports, most common injuries are bruises and broken bones. Snowboarders are most likely to injure their wrists and arms. Skiers, on the other hand, are more likely to injure their knees, heads, and faces. In either sport, it’s important to wear a helmet and follow all safety rules. 

Have you ever been snowboarding? Would you like to try it? It may seem scary at first, but many ski resorts have special slopes for beginners. What other fun ways are there to get to the bottom of a snowy hill? Some people love riding down on a sled, while others prefer to just roll down in the snow. Whatever snowy games you take part in, stay safe and have fun!

Standards: C3.D2.His.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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