When Sherman Poppen decided to tie a couple of skis together back in 1965, he must have had little idea that he was about to start an incredibly popular sport. Despite its relatively short history, snowboarding has become one of the leading winter sports in the world.
This seems particularly hard to imagine when we think back to the way that it was seen as a poor relation to skiing. Ski enthusiasts felt that they commanded the slopes. There did not seem to be any place for snowboarding fans. But times have certainly changed, with most resorts now welcoming those wanting to take part in both sports.
So how did the sport grow? What are the secrets behind its success? From the outset, it was clear that snowboarding was being positioned as more than a sporting activity. While people might view cross-country running, for example, primarily as a means of getting some decent exercise, it's hard to think of snowboarding in that way. Instead, it tends to be seen as something of a lifestyle choice.
It's always had associations with skateboarding, extending to a certain sense of style. Looking good is at the centre of what this sport is all about. If you can not manage to look good, both on and off the slopes, then you're going to be rather out of place.
Indeed, in many senses this is where things differ considerably from skiing. There's an expectation here that the board that you choose and the clothes that you wear will really say something about you. But it's also the case that style is very much part of the sport. That's not so evidently the case with skiing.
So the rise of the sport can be explained by its positioning. It's offering something very different to other winter sports. It manages to combine danger, excitement, skills, fashion and style. These all help to explain why it has risen in popularity at such an astounding rate.
If you've not previously tried snowboarding, then you might like to investigate whether it's possible to get lessons locally. There are also numerous online stores selling appropriate equipment and accessories.