Snowboarding is one of the biggest and fastest growing winter sports. The reason I chose to look into snowboarding more, is because I have wondered about issues like where it began, backcountry boarding, and safety.
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Snowboarding has been progressing very rapidly, but when did snowboarding actually originate? And who was the person who started it? It seems according to the research I did, that no one actually knows who first came up with the idea. Some say that in the 1920s is when people first started using snowboards, although not actually snowboards, more a board with a string. But we do know that the first type of snowboard was the snurf board. It never had bindings, and was only made for a few years, but the most astounding part was that in the first year of its production, nearly half a million boards were sold.
After the snurf board came along burtons first boards, and with them also came the first professional boarders, and the first competitions began. Since then the sport has continued to evolve, and so has the gear as we will talk about later on. Snowboarding gear has changed drastically over the years, from boards and gear that more resembled ski boots and surf boards, to flimsy leather boots that had no strength, to the stiff comfortable boots we now enjoy. The boards themselves have changed drastically as well, but I think the most drastic change has been the clothing for snowboarders. Not only in the way they’re designed, but also in the colors that seem to be popular for that time period. Many of the bright colors such as pink that were sported in the 80s, seem to be coming back in the last few years, Not only pink, but just bright colors in general. The evolution of the bindings is another big step that seems to have been more took in small steps at a time. bindings have progressed from two straps that needed to be ratcheted, to two straps but only one ratchet.. manufacturers have also created step in bindings, which seemed to be in for a little while, but they don’t have the same back support, and they tend to have many more problems with the setup, including broken rip cords for when taking of a boot from the board, to frozen snow and ice so that they can’t even get the boot locked in. Thus because of all the issues that happened, it seems that manufacturers of all brands have more or less got rid of the step in binding and boots setup.
Backcountry is a type of snowboarding that seems to be progressing rapidly, and also shows up more in the latest movies like: That’s It That’s All and Get Real; the focus seems to be on big air Jumps, up to 150 feet distance , and 50 or 80 feet in the air, and then landing on perfectly sloped hills with tons of powder. Another way backcountry seems to be used in the movies is for huge drops, and coming down super steep mountains. These forms are all backcountry, and it is done in many different ways for many different people. Some people use snowmobiles for going into the back country while others use snowshoes or even snowboards that can be split into two parts and made into skis for skiing up the mountain. The main attraction for most people to backcountry seems to be all the fresh powder that comes along with the hard work, as well as people enjoy the adventure and time spent with friends during the day. One of the biggest risk factors about backcountry snowboarding would have to be all the avalanches that happen every year. Without the usual blasting like what goes on at big ski hills, the snow can become very unstable, and even create overhangs, and as a result many avalanches start. Another reason for avalanches is the different variety of conditions up in the mountains, thus causing unstable snow that slides very easily.
Differences in tricks and styles of riding since the first competition, have become very clear, I myself don’t know what types of tricks and such that were pulled during the first competition. For all I know it could have just been about the one that stayed on his board the longest won! But what I do know is that over the years the tricks and different styles of boarding have changed. First, let’s talk about the different styles and kinds of snowboarding, and then after that we will look at how it has all progressed in tricks. The main type of snowboarding is still where someone goes to the ski hill, gets a board and just enjoys going down the slopes at their own pace. However, there are different types, for example, in the deserts they snowboard, but instead of doing it on snow it’s on sand. There is also the racing of snowboarders down single tracks. The boards are made differently and have the bindings pointing more towards the nose of the oard. There is also the type where you get about five people in each race and you go down a track with jumps and moguls, trying to beat the other competitors to the finish line. Another type is the more park freestyle type were boarders can go into half pipes and pull tricks, or nail a few rails. Each type of riding seems to have a type of board that goes along with it. The boards can differ in their flex, length and weight, thus the board suits the type of riding the rider uses it for. Sometimes the rider uses a different style of board than he should for the type of riding he does. For example.. Instead of riding a stiffer board like I should I prefer a flexi board.. but it’s just my personal preference. When setting up a snowboard there are many different things to come into consideration, including length of the board for the person and the set up, either goofy or regular. Also, the angle of the bindings can be changed for omparableness. When picking a board length for a person, the majority of the time we want a board that is just under our nose when compared to us, but again as you get better you might want to change the length of the board for the style of riding you do. When a person is getting set up for the first snowboarding experience, they usually do a test to see which foot should be put first , right foot forward is goofy, left foot forward is regular. To test which foot should go forward they usually just push you backwards and see which foot you step back with. That indicates which is the lead foot, and it should be at the front. When deciding on the angle of your bindings it usually is put for the most comfortable setting allowing the best movement and stability. The usual formation is set with the back binding facing straight, while the front is angled about 10 to 20% towards the front of the board. Again, as the rider gets better he may choose to change the angles. Mine are set both straight, while my friends are set duck foot, being the back binding angled to the tail of the board, while the front binding is angled to the front of the board. The reason why so many injuries and deaths occur when snowboarding can be split into two reasons. First, why and how do injuries and deaths occur for backcountry snowboards? And two, why and how are injuries and deaths occurring for snowboarders on slopes and such? To begin with I think we should look at what causes the injuries and deaths in backcountry snowboarding. The largest factor in deaths to snowboarders when doing backcountry is avalanches. Avalanches can be triggered so easily, from taking a drop, to just carving in the fresh powder. So why do avalanches occur? What causes these mass amounts of snow to come careening down the hill towards onlookers and smashing to bits everything in its way? An avalanche is caused by the way snow builds up and the kind of snow building up, as well as different temperatures as it builds up.. if there is a solid slab on the bottom with powdery snow on top , the bottom slab can act like a slippery board, and the snow on top will slide on it. In this illustration, it shows the unstable snow that built up, and as the skier in this case carved on the snow it let loose, causing an avalanche. Another reason for deaths to snowboarders is due to the fact that it seems un cool to wear a helmet. I had never ridden with a helmet until this year, but I must say that it doesn’t affect anything but keeping your head safe, and who wouldn’t want that. If we could get more people wearing helmets alone it would take the death rate down.
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I myself grew up skiing from a young age of about five or younger. By the time I was about seven, I was already snowboarding and doing very well at it. From then on I had a lot of people that influenced my boarding, and taught me many skills. At the age of about twelve I started really getting into all the tricks, and uring that time I also built a few rails and attempted to build a half pipe on our property.. of course it was only 4 feet high and 8 feet across, but hey it was something I’ll never forget. Since then I’ve learned many tricks: 180, 360, 540, grabs, rails even a back flip. After them it just turns into trying to combine the tricks such as a back flip 180 with a grab in it.. get’s scary but super fun. Although I have grown up in a small town with huge mountains around me, I really haven’t done all that much backcountry. Yes, I have done backcountry, but it ends up being like a few times a year at the most. this year I have been wanting to get out and do some more backcountry, but the weather doesn’t seem to want me to, seeing as we have had very bad weather which causes many avalanches. But my opinion still stands from my past experiences, backcountry is just the best type of riding, from the soft deep powder, to the massive 80 to 140 foot gaps you can make, with powdery landings. If you want a challenge and a good time, I suggest backcountry snowboarding with a few friends
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