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A snowboard is a piece of winter sports equipment in the form of a board to be used on snow. The driver stands on the board sideways to the direction of travel. Since 1998, snowboarding has been Olympic in several disciplines .

Freeride board
Snowboard with soft binding (1990s)
Snowboarders on the slope
Snowboarder during the jump phase
Snowboarder in the half pipe


Prehistory (1900–1963)

In 1900 the Austrian Toni Lenhardt invented the monoglider, a forerunner of the snowboard. He was so successful that from 1914 mono-gliding competitions were held in Bruck an der Mur . It is said that in 1929 the American Jack Burchett was the first to think about how to make a mobile mat that was suitable for snow from chipboard , horse reins and clotheslines. His idea was purely private and never reached the market. The conceptual roots of snowboarding are in surfing . The two surfers Tom Sims and Sherman Poppen (both come from the USA) experimented in 1963 with old doors and large wooden boards on which they mounted lugs in order to reconstruct the surfing feeling on snow. The “Skiboard” built by Sims in 1963, which “should mark the beginning of a new trend sport”, is one of the original snowboards to this day.

Development of the snowboard (1970–1985)

Dimitrije Milovich , an avid surfer, first installed steel edges as additional stabilizers on the sides of the board in 1970 . However, the technology was not helpful in everyday use at that time and was therefore soon discarded. Two years later, Jake Burton developed the principle of binding significantly further by mounting adjustable rubber straps as foot straps and anti-slip surfaces on the board in order to increase the stability.

Milovich started producing snowboards called Winterstick in Utah in 1975 . The models were still far from today's, but he developed boards with a patented swallowtail in order to achieve better maneuverability. The steel edges of his previous boards disappeared again. Even Mike Olsen , who later became the company Gnu and Lib Tech should be based, so to produce boards in his garage began.

In 1977 Burton was the first to produce a small series of his own board creation after he founded the company Burton Snowboards the previous year . However, at $ 88, he put the price too high, so his product was not a commercial success at the time.

In the same year, Jake Burton and Dimitrije Milovich rented a small stand at the “Snow Sports Industry Show” (SIA Show), which is considered an important trade fair for sports shops. Their only success was to make various distributors aware of their products, they couldn't sell any of their boards. In the same year Tom Sims developed a board with glued layers of wood . This board sold much better because it could be built with less labor. This cut the retail price by about half, to about $ 40. The main problem in sales was that back then snowboarders were not welcome guests in the ski areas and at the lifts . So they were forced to climb the slopes or ski on the groomed slopes at night. Until 1985, snurfers were welcome in only seven percent of all US ski resorts.

In 1980, Burton, Sims and Winterstick used so-called P-Tex surfaces for their snowboards and thus integrated technologies from the ski industry for the first time . This development was far ahead of the previous "snurfer" and enabled better control and new driving maneuvers. Boards were also produced in Europe for the first time, but those from the USA were further developed and were imported to Europe at great expense. Nevertheless, Winterstick ran into major financial problems that same year and had to withdraw from the business. Gregory Stump and Warren Miller produced the first snowboard films and brought the sport to public attention.

Chuck Barfoot , who had designed various boards for Tom Sims since 1978 ( skateboards , surfboards and snowboards), set up his own business in 1981, founded Barfoot and experimented with various construction technologies. The first small-scale competition also took place this year in Leadville , Colorado . In later times most snowboards were again equipped with steel edges.

Paul Graves organized the first national snow surfing championship in Vermont in 1982 , which consisted of slalom and downhill. For the first time, snowboarders from all over America competed against each other, including rivals Jake Burton and Tom Sims. This event sparked media interest and snowboarding was a national reporting topic for the first time. Competitors Sims and Burton organized official championships in their hometowns in 1983, but this divided the snowboarding community: Sims integrated the halfpipe into its competition for the first time and was boycotted by some riders because they did not accept freestyle as a snowboard discipline.

The first European snowboard company, Hooger Booger, developed race boards with asymmetrical sidecut in 1984, a trend-setting step for the future. At around the same time, the first special snowboard shoes were developed in Stratton Mountain (USA). Before that, you drove in moon boots or hiking boots . The film Apocalypse Snow by Régis Rolland was released in the same year and documented the rapid growth of snowboarding (two more parts followed by 1986 due to the great success).

From 1985 Burton and Sims produced their boards in series with P-Tex coating and steel edges, which marked the end of the constructive development of the surfboard. Sims introduced the first promo model that bore the name of Terry Kidwell and made astonishing accents in the freestyle area. The board was rounded equally on both sides and had two equally strong bent ends. In the same year a competition on European soil was held for the first time in Schnalstal ( South Tyrol ). 1985 was also the year of birth of soft boots - special shoes that were adapted to the needs and loads of a snowboarder. The first halfpipe competition took place in Soda Springs . Freestyle became a big topic in snowboarding, especially for skateboarders . The first to make money in this sport were José Fernandes , Peter Bauer , Petra Müssig , Jean Nerva , Craig Kelly and Burt Lamar .

Around 1986, European manufacturers such as Fuzzy Garhammer and Hooger Booger also managed to make up for the backlog in technology and development that had existed until then. From 1986 Austrian snowboard manufacturers start industrial production.

First descent from the Großglockner

On July 6, 1986 the Austrian daily newspaper Kurier published a report about the first departure of "snow surfers" from the Großglockner with snowboards and swingbos :

“Only the Glockner stayed ice cold: a handful of bold boys and a woman challenged Austria's highest mountain with surfboards. For fun and to define the limits of the new winter sports equipment [...]
For the first time, traces of swingbos (two short skis connected to a movable control plate), snowboards (surfboards with bindings) and mono-skis are digging into the glacier flanks of the Glockner . "

- Karl-Heinz Jeller : Kurier, July 1986

The woman mentioned was Christine Edtbauer , the then four-time Austrian state champion in windsurfing . Among the men were the Kaprun “Ski Guide ” and ski school operator Eduard “Eddy” Gruber and, together with Karl-Heinz Jeller, the author of the Kurier report. Despite a week of intensive training with the device, the latter broke off his attempt at the foot of the Glockner at the foot of the Glockner early on with the Swingbo and "quickly switched to traditional skis".

At that time the snowboards were obviously not on the market in Austria:

“The coming winter season [1986/87] the Kaprun ski guides will bring these 'scary' snowboards onto the market. 'They are superior to swingbos in deep snow,' says Eddy Gruber, the head of the guides. [...]
The men around Gruber hope that snow surfing will fascinate young winter guests in particular and bring them back to Austria. "

- Karl-Heinz Jeller : Kurier, July 1986

According to Gruber's further statements about the situation with boards on lifts at the time, he is quoted as saying:

“Otherwise he [Gruber] is certain: 'This sport will spread like an epidemic. Simply because it's fun. '"

- Karl-Heinz Jeller : Kurier, July 1986

Promotion (since 1987)

Backside boardslide

In 1988 three world championships took place, one in Ennsdorf ( Austria ), one in Livigno ( Italy ) and the third in Breckenridge (USA). As snowboarding fascinated more and more people and the number of boarders kept increasing, the lift operators were forced to open their slopes to snowboarders as well. At various competitions, the Americans received serious competition from Europe. They had swapped the rubber loops that were used as bindings at the time for touring ski bindings and won one title after the other.

Urs Meier (Switzerland) and Earl Miller (USA) developed safety bindings in 1989 , which should reduce the risk of injury, as the sport was still rather unsafe.

In the same year the company DND Sportsystem Ltd was founded in Switzerland. She took Sims Snowboards under license and also the name Santa Cruz, with which she manufactured snowboard articles worldwide under the name Santa Cruz Snowboards . DNR Sportsystem quickly became the world's largest snowboard manufacturer.

The International Snowboard Association (ISA) was also founded in 1989 to organize the discipline in terms of competition . In the following year, the ISA was replaced by the International Snowboarding Federation (ISF), whose task it was to maintain the subcultural mentality of the sport, to develop competition criteria and also to lead an international ranking . Mainly because of this, in 1994 there was no affiliation with the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), which showed great interest in this merger, probably because snowboarding was the only alpine discipline at that time that was not bound by the FIS in the regulations and enjoyed great popularity at the same time.

The winter sports areas slowly adapted to the snowboarders and accepted the new use of the slopes. Snow groomers were increasingly equipped with special devices for the construction of halfpipes . In the sports shops, special service machines for snowboards were created for the first time. The approval of snowboarding at the Olympic Games in 1994 became a topic of discussion and a basis for discussion for the upcoming events, but based on the FIS rules. The first air & style contest took place in the Bergisel stadium in Innsbruck , where the straight jump was introduced as a freestyle discipline. The competition would later become one of the most important events in snowboard freestyle.

A snowboarder doing a tow-in straight jump

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in 1995 to include snowboarding in the competition program for the first time in Nagano in 1998. Halfpipe and giant slalom were now Olympic disciplines for snowboarders. In 1996, alongside the disciplines of freestyle (halfpipe, quarterpipe , straight jump, etc.), slalom and giant slalom, a new form of competition, boardercross, was created . Several boarders start at the same time in a course with jumps, bumps and banked curves.

The continuing demand for snowboards is causing manufacturers to increase their production.

In 1997 a dispute broke out between the ISF and the FIS. The point was that, according to a decision by the IOC, drivers who wanted to take part in the Olympics had to qualify in FIS races . Most of the ISF riders only contested the minimum number of FIS races to collect the necessary points for the Olympics. At the games there was also the first scandal when the Canadian Ross Rebagliati tetrahydrocannabinol ( marijuana ) was detected in his urine and his gold medal was therefore withdrawn from him for the time being. However, after the intoxicant was not on the list of banned doping substances, it was later returned to him. The events were also clouded by the fact that the athlete Terje Håkonsen , who was considered a favorite at the time , refused to take part in the games because he could not agree to the rules of the IOC. In the scene, among other things, because of this decision, he is considered a formative leading figure. The Swiss Gian Simmen won the halfpipe competition .

The hype about snowboarding reached its tragic climax in 1999 when, after the Air & Style Contest in Innsbruck's Bergisel Stadium, five people lost their lives after a crowd. The venue was then relocated and the event was held on a much smaller scale. In the 1990s, the snowboard market was the fastest growing market in sports, growing up to 68 percent per season. During this time one could therefore observe a massive fluctuation of manufacturers, of which only a few were able to establish themselves.

In 2002 the ISF had to file for bankruptcy, one of the reasons for this was certainly the FIS, which made it difficult for the association to work on a financial and political basis. All tasks, competitions and regulations are therefore taken over by the FIS. In the same year, the World Snowboarding Federation was launched with a new calendar (organized by the Ticket to Ride World Snowboard Tour ).

Today snowboarding is a popular sport that has grown from a small “religious community” to millions of followers. Ski resorts have recognized this trend for some time and have invested large sums in adapting their slopes (or at least parts of them) to the needs of snowboarders. So-called “fun parks” can now be found in every major ski area; they usually contain rails , half pipes , quarter pipes , ramps, corner jumps , straight jumps and the like. As a result, the sport has developed in its professionalism and let the competition in all its disciplines grow continuously.

Construction of today's snowboards

Manufacturers differentiate between freestyle , freeride, carving and race boards. The categories are not permanently separated from one another, but merge into one another. In simple terms, it can be said that the longer a board is, the smoother it is and less easy to turn. Thus, downhill boards are basically longer than freestyle boards. The splitboard (divisible touring snowboard) occupies a special position among snowboards.

In general, a snowboard is between 1 and 1.8 meters long and has a core made of wood , foam or a honeycomb-like aluminum construction. The predominant material is still wood, and different types of wood with different properties are often combined. Strings made of sturdy wood, in which the holes for the bindings are often set, are called stringers . Some manufacturers now also use carbon fiber reinforced plastic (carbon, carbon fiber, CFRP), glass fiber reinforced plastic (fiberglass) and similar materials that are supposed to offer more stability. There are now also snowboards for children that have correspondingly smaller dimensions. On the underside is the driving surface, which can be made of different materials and improves the wax absorption and thus the sliding properties. The waisted boards are provided with steel edges on the sides to enable grip on hard slopes and thus cornering. Furthermore, there are so-called park boards without edges, which are designed exclusively for the fun park. Two snowboard bindings are mounted on the top to fix the snowboard boots on the board. A distinction is made between plate and soft bindings and between step-in and semi-step-in bindings.

Comparable boards on wheels are called freeboard. Driving on sand instead of snow is known as sandboarding . Also on only one board to move monoskiers and Skwalfahrer that posture is here, however, different.

Materials of the core

The following materials are used for the core of snowboards:

Surface of the running surfaces

The driving surface (or base) is an important part of the snowboard and must be able to slide well. There are now different types that, in addition to the necessary smoothness, should also be robust (against scratches) and easy to care for (as simple as possible waxing). But not all properties can be perfectly combined. A robust and particularly slippery base must be waxed more often than a softer base.

Extruded topping

With the extruded flooring, polyethylene granulate is liquefied and brought to the desired width and thickness through a wide nozzle and then glued to the board.

Sintered pad

Polyethylene powder is liquefied and compressed to form a cylindrical block, from which the covering is then peeled off. This coating is then very tear-resistant, has a high level of sliding properties and also absorbs hot wax very well.

Graphite coating

Graphite coating is a polyethylene coating with a carbon black content of 15 percent, which makes it conductive and thus prevents static charging. This means that no dirt can be drawn in, which would reduce the sliding ability.

Standing position (Regular / Goofy)

Standing position regular, binding angle 30 ° / 15 °
Stand position goofy, binding angle 30 ° / 15 °

Basically there are two different standing positions ( body postures ) on the snowboard, depending on whether the left (“regular”) or the right (“goofy”) foot is in the front in the direction of travel . Whether a snowboarder rides “regular” or “goofy” depends entirely on subjective preferences. It is unclear what causes the preference for one of the standing positions and how it can be clearly determined. Experience shows that neither the stronger leg nor the handedness of the person is decisive. Various "motor tests" such as B. the two-legged sliding on ice surfaces, the position of the feet when scooter, skateboarding or going downhill on the bike (standing position, one pedal in front, one in the back), when boxing or when using a shovel do not provide reliable information on whether goofy or regular is the preferred standing position. There is therefore a lot to suggest that the position that is given in the first phases of learning or that is experienced as the more comfortable will remain the snowboarder's preferred standing position in the long term.

Assumptions that the regular position would be the "normal" and the goofy position the more exotic of the two have persisted to this day, but lack a conclusive justification. The reality, on the other hand, looks clearer, because snowboarders have (since time immemorial) distributed roughly equal shares in the regular and goofy positions. Other sources assign distributions of 30 (“goofy”) to 70 (“regular”) to hobby drivers, but sometimes name the opposite or balanced ratios in some areas of professional drivers.

Bond angle

Duckstance, bond angle 15 ° / -15 °
Standing position regular, binding angle 52 ° / 45 °
Crazyfoot, bond angle 15 ° / 21 °

Generally there is no magic formula for the right angle. Every snowboarder has to choose the most comfortable standing position for himself. However, there are sensible and less sensible standing positions for every driving style.

According to the German Ski Association, beginners are best advised to use an angle of 30 ° at the front and 15 ° at the rear. Due to this angle, the tips of the shoes point slightly in the direction of travel and the movement, which is still very unusual, is easier to learn. The ski association also recommends a 30 ° / 15 ° angle for advanced snowboarders who do not pursue a special style such as freestyle or freeride. In practice, however, “duckstance” (18 ° / -12 °) is becoming increasingly popular for both beginners and advanced snowboarders.

Freestyle-oriented snowboarders usually ride at a fairly flat angle (front / back: 0 ° / 0 ° to approx. 15 ° / -15 °, "duckstance") because this makes the balance between the heel and toe edge easier when jumping, landing, etc. can be held. Shallow angles also make it easier to get momentum for spins.

Freeride-oriented snowboarders have mounted the bindings much steeper, as they reach very high speeds and should therefore be turned more in the direction of travel than freestylers. A typical bond angle is, for example, 24 ° / 18 °.

Race-board-oriented snowboarders have set the bindings even steeper, as they reach very high speeds and should therefore be turned more in the direction of travel than freeriders. A typical binding angle for slalom is, for example, 52 ° / 45 ° and for giant slalom, for example, 57 ° / 52 °. Narrow boards such as the F2 Silberpfeil often do not allow any flatter angles due to their strong sidecut, as otherwise toes and heels would protrude beyond the board. An extreme position of 90 ° is found at Skwals .

The duckstance occupies a special position in the bond angle. Here the bindings are mounted like a "V" at the front in the direction of travel and at the back against the direction of travel. The template for this binding angle gives the natural foot position of the person whose toes point slightly outwards when standing. The advantage of the duckstance is that the driver can bend his knees further, creating a more compact and safer driving position. Especially in the freestyle area, the duckstance is quite popular, as it also increases freedom of movement and, for example, simplifies fakie riding (backwards). Duckstance is by no means more likely to cause knee pain than other bond angles, as is often assumed. On the contrary, since it is based on the natural posture of humans, Duckstance is far gentler than other bond angles.

In rare cases one sees a binding setting in which the rear foot is steeper than the front (e.g. 15 ° / 21 °). This binding setting is often referred to as crazyfoot (due to the strange posture it causes) and is simply the result of a binding incorrectly set due to ignorance.

Board types

Ryan McDonald on a race board

Race board

A race board is a fairly stiff snowboard that is designed for use in races . It has a flat, short tip (nose). Race boards are usually longer than freestyle or freeride boards.

Slalom: 9–11 m radius length mostly 155–165 cm (in the World Cup mostly around 165 cm with a 10–11 m radius)

Giant slalom: 12–17 meters radius, length mostly 175–185 cm (in the World Cup mostly 185 cm with a 15–16 m radius)

Race boards are only ridden with hard boots and plate bindings to ensure precise control even at high speeds. For any jumps with turns in the air, a race board is rather unsuitable due to its high swing weight. For jumps in a straight line, like in boardercross, a race board is just as suitable as a "softboard".

More recently, race boards have been constructed just as soft. They show the characteristics of trendy freeriders or park boards in order to keep them flexible in every situation.

Snowboarders 'race boards have nothing to do with windsurfers' race boards .

Carving board

In contrast to race boards, carving boards are designed solely for carving, i.e. for driving on the edge. They are more aggressive to ride than race boards. While race boards should allow gates to drift upwards, carving boards - once placed on the edge - should allow very dynamic carving. This is achieved through high torsional rigidity and, depending on the board, high pretensioning of the boards. They are rarely rounded at the stern and not too far bent up at the nose in order to achieve the longest possible effective edge length. A stiff plate binding is used as the binding.

There are very narrow carving boards with a width of only 14–16 cm, a center width carving board with a width of 19–20 cm, and for extreme carving, wider carving boards with a width of 21–23 cm (depending on the foot size). Of course there are also carving boards in between.

Freeride board

A bend at high speed while freeriding in powder off-piste. The boarder leans towards the inside of the curve because of the centrifugal force .

A freeride board is wider and softer than a race or carving board. For freeriding, freerideboards are used significantly longer than freestyle boards. It is primarily intended for deep snow skiing. With the freerideboard you can also carve or do small tricks on the slopes. The rear (English: tail ) is slightly bent up to enable reversing (fakie). Freeride boards are almost always used with soft bindings. The shovel of a freeride board should be long, high and soft to give a lot of lift in deep snow. The binding position is also set back to the center of the board for more buoyancy.


A longboard is a lot longer than a freeride board in order to provide a lot of lift in deep snow. Such boards are usually 2 m in length. The binding position is also set back to the center of the board for more buoyancy. It is mostly driven with soft boots.


A variant of the freerideboard are swallowtail (with V-tail) equipped freerideboards. They are usually a little wider than race boards, but narrower than normal freeride / freestyle boards and are ridden in body size or larger. Swallowtails are particularly common in expert freeriding areas like La Grave in France. They can be driven with soft or hard boots. Today's boards for off-piste have so-called rockers which simplify the lift in the snow.

Freestyle board

The freestyle board is rather soft, not particularly long (130–165 cm), and the tail is identical to the tip (twintip). Freestyle boards are designed for jumping, landing and rail riding. It is therefore possible to mount the bindings centrally on the board so that you can also go backwards (fakie, switch). Only soft bindings are used. The newer generations are tough in order to cope with the immense loads that arise with long jumps and thus make handling easier at high speeds.

Alpine board

An alpine board is well suited for carving on the slopes due to its sidecut and hardness or bending line, but unlike a race board, it has enough width for deep snow skiing . The board shown is a freecarve or boardercross snowboard.

Alpine board is the umbrella term that separates carving-oriented boards from freestyle and freerideboards. Usually these are freecarve, race and carving boards as well as boardercross (BX) boards.

Tandem snowboard

The tandem snowboard is a specially reinforced snowboard (race board or freestyle) for two people on which two pairs of bindings can be mounted. As with a normal board, the bindings are one behind the other, but the person behind puts the front leg between the legs of the person in front. In order to enable a safe and stable driving style, the man behind usually puts his arms around the waist of the man in front.

This board is mainly used for promotional purposes and rides for the disabled, so that non-snowboarders can experience an extraordinary ride on the snow. In addition, tandem snowboards are sometimes used in ski schools, as the instructor can convey the driving experience, but also basic techniques, to his students in this way.

Of course, the tandem snowboard is also often used by young couples who can pursue such an entertaining and yet demanding sporting activity with a lot of physical contact.


A splitboard is a lengthways divisible snowboard in which the two (or three or four) parts are firmly connected to each other. Disassembled it can be used as a simple touring ski. In terms of construction and shape, splitboards are similar to freeride boards .

All-round board

An all-round board is very similar to the freeride and freestyle board. It just has a different construction that better distributes the weight on the edges. This makes driving on the groomed slopes easier and requires less force than a freestyle board. The board is about three millimeters wider towards the bottom (towards the edges). The name all-round board comes from the fact that something can be done with this board. Such a board is ideal for people who are still in the process of finding out their specialty.

Jib boards

Special boards for rails have been available since the 2005/2006 season . Since the edges of the snowboard like to "bite" into the rails, it can lead to painful canting, and the edges break easily if you hit the rail at the wrong angle. The edges of jib boards are slightly raised so that you only “slide” on the surface. Jib boards tend to be ridden shorter than freestyle boards.


Rockers are boards in which, due to their design, the camber acts over a shorter zone than between the widest parts of the board. Pre-tensioning means that the board only rests unloaded at the end (tail) and with the shovel (tip), while in the middle it is up to several centimeters from the ground, i.e. it forms an arc overall. If the bend does not start at the widest point, but just before the front binding, the shovel floats better on loose or heavy snow, the board cuts less and is easier to turn. The disadvantage is a shorter effective edge when driving straight ahead and on level, groomed slopes and less smoothness at higher speeds. F (lat) rockers without and B (ow) rockers with negative bias are also built for deep snow, halfpipe and fun parks; there are also mixed forms that combine camber and rocker designs.

Related sports equipment

Some winter sports equipment are related to snowboards, but are usually not counted directly among them:


The swingbo hit the market in the mid-1980s. Swingbo surfing was mainly practiced in Germany and Austria in the 1980s as the upcoming cult sport, for which championships were also held. Surfing with the Swingbo was not able to prevail, as it was not easy to ride the Swingbo at higher speeds due to the design. Also, in contrast to the technically ever more developed snowboards, the possible uses were limited.

The sports equipment was developed and produced by Swingbo International, which combined several technical innovations in the board and held the patent rights. The general agency in Austria was Sail & Surf in Bad Ischl, also marketed under the name Alpin-Surf-Board. With the same name as the sport of alpine surfing , the Kaprun “Ski Guide” Eduard “Eddy” Gruber installed an alpine surf school and published a Swingbo alpin surf curriculum in November 1985.

The Swingbo consists of two short, very strongly tapered skis with fins with a length of 1250 mm, the width over both is 285 mm. The so-called special gliders are connected to a standing board via two special joints, which is coated with a non-slip rubber studded surface. Two foot straps are used to connect the feet to the board, the rear one at a 90-degree angle and the front one at a 45-degree angle to the direction of travel. They can be mounted for left or right ascent using corresponding threaded holes. The loops can be adjusted to the shoe size using tabs and locking knobs, special shoes are not required. In the event of a safety hazard, the loop connection loosens by itself if excessive tensile forces occur. At lower speeds, you can also drive without the foot straps.

The mechanics of the two joints, which are attached one behind the other, transmit the movement via five gears built into a plastic body. The gears on the top are connected to the board via their axes, the gears below are connected to the two gliders. Between these there is another gear wheel for correct deflection. The changes in direction take place, similar to the skateboard , by shifting weight. This is supported by the waist of the gliders, which turn into the curves over the steel edges. An elongated so-called "brake pedal", which protrudes backwards from about the middle and is depressed when standing on the board, pulls two brake legs upwards on the underside, which prevent the Swingbo from slipping uncontrollably in the forwards and backwards direction when at rest. A hole in the back of the board serves as a further possible means of securing a lanyard.

In a report in July 1986 in the daily Kurier about the first descent from the Großglockner with snowboards, Moni-Skis and Swingbos (for details see above, section “ First descent from the Großglockner ”) Eddy Gruber was quoted as saying: “They are the Swingbos [the snowboards ] superior in deep snow. ”This is because they are just too short at 1.25 meters in length and therefore it is not possible to bring the edge pressure onto the piste as with skis. That is why the Swingbo tends to oversteer easily. It was also reported that Eddy Gruber was working on a second generation for the 1986/87 winter season: "The new ones will be longer and have improved control mechanisms."

With the Fuzzy-Surfer , a technically sophisticated successor product was on the market. It is not known whether this was Gruber's further development. Ultimately, the swingbos disappeared again due to patent and sales disputes.

Snow skate

Snowskates or winter skates are a type of skateboard without wheels and have no bindings. Instead of the rollers, there is a ski the length of the snowskate, which is bent up at the front and back. This enables tricks that involve reversing or turning the board. They work similarly to a skateboard, i.e. snowskates (not all) also have a griptape (rough surface) to perform tricks like ollies . However, there are also snowskates without "skis" on the deck; these snowskates allow safe landings. However, they are usually a lot more expensive.


A skwal is located between ski and snowboard. It consists of a single, very wide ski on which the bindings are attached one behind the other in the direction of travel. They therefore also resemble an extreme race board. Skwals are mainly used by beginners, but also by experts with ski sticks. Skwals were invented in France in 1989 and have enjoyed constant popularity there since then, but are not very common in the other Alpine regions. Skwals allow extreme inclines when carving, but they require well-groomed slopes and are not easy to learn.

Snow kite boards

Snowkiteboards have a slightly larger edge radius of approx. 14 to over 20 meters and a twin-tip shape (to be able to ride in both directions). To do this, the driver holds a kite umbrella in his hand or hangs it hooked onto the harness so that he can pull himself forward over long, often flat stretches. Due to their larger width of approx. 26–32 cm, snowkiteboards can also be ridden well in deep snow.

Bond types

Soft binding

The snowboard binding firmly connects the snowboarder's snowboard boots to the snowboard. A distinction is made between different types of bond.

A plate binding fixes a hardboot at the toe and heel with the help of metal brackets; the front bracket is usually foldable. A plate binding offers very direct power transmission. It is mainly used on alpine and race boards. The soft binding, on the other hand, fixes a soft boot with two ratchet straps over the instep and toes. It is the most common type of binding. The flow binding is a special binding for soft boots that is similar to the normal soft binding, but in contrast to this no longer uses ratchets in the conventional sense. To get into the binding, the highback can be folded down using a small lever. The fourth type of binding is the step-in binding . It uses a mechanism that allows you to click into the binding while standing.


Soft boots

As Boots (also: snowboard boots) is called for snowboarding footwear. A distinction is made between soft boots and hard boots.

Hard boots are quite similar to normal ski boots , they are like these hard shell boots that are molded from plastic. Soft boots are generally a little more comfortable to wear than hard boots, but power is transmitted more indirectly, for example when cornering. With them, running is much easier. Today they are the more common shoe shape.


Originally, the sport did not need an association because too few people practiced it. It was not until 1985, when the number of fans was so large that international competitions could be held, that a central organization was necessary. The International Snowboarding Association was founded in 1989, but a year later it was replaced by the International Snowboarding Federation as the central body worldwide. From now on it represented the interests of the drivers and their regional or national associations and organized official world championships.

The discussion about the introduction of snowboarding as an Olympic discipline aroused the interest of the FIS in 1994 , which included the sport in its program in 1995 and held the first championships a year later. Above all, the fact that the International Olympic Committee of the FIS approved the organization of the Olympic competitions caused a growing dispute between the ISF and the FIS. The core of the differences was the fact that you had to compete in FIS competitions in order to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games and, in particular, the drivers felt that they were insufficiently represented by the ISF and its rules. Due to the growing new pole of power, the ISF was pushed further and further and finally had to file for bankruptcy in 2002, whereupon the FIS took over all of its competitions.

But because not all riders wanted to be represented by a ski association, the Ticket to Ride World Snowboard Tour (TTR) was created that same year . It is worn by athletes and the industry and is highly regarded among drivers. As a winner, you can secure a “Ticket to Ride” at selected contests (this is how the name of the tour came about), which entitles you to participate in the tour or championship. The TTR has existed as a World Series since the 2005/2006 season, where drivers can collect points at various events. The importance of the contests is indicated by the so-called star system (1–6 star events). Depending on the classification and importance of the event, points are awarded. The first overall winner of the TTR was the French Mathieu Crepel .

As an alternative to the ISF, the World Snowboarding Federation (WSF) was founded in Munich on August 10, 2002 by representatives from 14 nations. Today she works closely with the TTR and conducts the official evaluation of the drivers (not to be confused with the FIS ranking list).

Also in 2002, the Snowboard Association Germany (SVD) was founded in Stuttgart , which was formed after the economic bankruptcy of the GSA from representatives of the GSA and the German Ski Association . Today the SVD is responsible for the German issues of snowboarding. This includes the German national team in particular.



After the first snowboard races took place in 1981, world championships were held for the first time in 1985. In 1996 the FIS decided to hold a World Cup and also held world championships, but these races were initially boycotted by the ISF drivers . An agreement was reached between the two associations, based on the qualification mode for the 1998 Olympic Winter Games , when snowboarding was an Olympic Games for the first time (see: Snowboarding at the Olympic Games ). After the insolvency of the ISF in summer 2002 only the FIS Snowboard World Cup existed as an international racing series.

There is now a new series of competitions, the Burton Global Open Championships . This international series of snowboard events will be held in five countries on different dates and can boast a total of over 700,000 US dollars in prize money. In 1997, the X Games in the USA integrated snowboarding into their program for the first time, thus laying the foundation for one of the most important competitions in snowboarding.

In the winter of 2002/03, various independent competitions joined forces to form the Ticket to Ride World Snowboard Tour (TTR). From this series of competitions, organized by the snowboard industry and independent organizers, the TTR World Snowboard Tour emerged before the 2005/06 season. For the first time, TTR had a world ranking list and also organized a competition tour for women. In contrast to the FIS World Cup, the TTR competitions enjoy a high reputation among snowboarders. Many of the top athletes only take part in the World Cup to qualify for the Olympic Games.

In 2010 the TTR approached the FIS again in order to negotiate a common qualification mode for the upcoming Olympic Games. The reason for this was the decision of the IOC to expand the supporting program with slopestyle. TTR has been practicing this discipline for years and has had relevant experience with it. Nevertheless, the IOC rejected the proposal and transferred qualification responsibility to the FIS, which had very little experience in the discipline.


In 1982, the first National Snowboarding Championships at Suicide Six by Paul Graves were held in Vermont (USA) , which are now called the Burton US Open and form the final of the TTR tour. In 1994 the first Air & Style Contest took place in Innsbruck ; this laid the foundation stone for major events and is now a so-called TTR 6-star event, the premier class of TTR events. The focus is primarily on the straight jump (big air) and now also slopestyle .

In 1999 the X-Trail Jam took place in Tokyo ( Japan ) for the first time and gave the sport another high point. In the Straight jump- (Big Air) and quarterpipe - and Slopestyle -Veranstaltung, which incidentally takes place in a large hall, a new record was set in 2005 with 75,000 spectators. The sport is extremely popular in Japan. The first Burton European Open competitions (Slopestyle, Halfpipe ) also started this year in Laax ( Switzerland ) , which today, like the X-Trail Jam, is a 6-star TTR competition.

The first O'Neill Evolution Contest was held in Davos (Switzerland) in 2000 , which mainly focuses on halfpipe and quarterpipe , as well as slopestyle . In 2002 the first Arctic Challenge took place in Midstuen ( Norway ), which mainly focuses on the quarter pipe. The event is another declaration of war against FIS competitions and is coordinated by ex-ISF driver Terje Håkonsen . Snowboarding has been an Olympic discipline since 1998 and is carried out with halfpipe, boardercross and dual slalom.

Medical aspects

Like other winter sports, snowboarding involves a certain amount of risk. The injury rate corresponds to around four to six injuries per 1,000 people per day and is therefore around twice as high as that of skiers.

Injuries are more common among beginners - especially if they haven't received extensive introductory training. A quarter of all injuries occur to newbies and half to beginners with less than a year of experience. Experienced snowboarders have a lower risk of injury, but the injuries that occur are usually more serious.

Two thirds of all injuries affect the upper body and one third affect the lower body. While the risk of injury in skiing is now concentrated on the knee ligaments , lower legs and head, the most common falls in snowboarding affect the wrist joints , tailbone , shoulder , ankle and meniscus / anterior cruciate ligament (the knee is more at risk when skiing). In Freestyle -Fahrern also the risk of injury to the knees and is neck high. A certain fracture of the ankle bone is so typical of snowboarding that it was given the name snowboarder's ankle .

The wrists are most commonly affected by injuries - 40% of all snowboard injuries are wrist fractures. That translates to around 100,000 wrist fractures among snowboarders worldwide each year. Therefore, wearing protective devices for the wrist - either separately or already integrated in the glove - is highly recommended. In some beginner courses, they are now compulsory and reduce the chance of a broken wrist by half.

The risk of head injuries is around four times higher for snowboarders than for skiers. Head injuries are usually the result of collisions or falling on the back. The latter can lead to severe injuries to the back of the head due to the force with which the head is thrown backwards. For this reason, helmets are highly recommended. As a rule, snowboard bindings - unlike ski bindings - are designed so that they do not open in the event of a fall. This fixation means that the risk of knee injuries (15%) is significantly lower than that of skiers (45%). In the early days of snowboarding as a popular sport, some manufacturers experimented with release bindings, but this turned out to be impractical, among other things because if only one binding is released, there is an increased risk for the other leg that is still fixed.

Almost every tenth snowboard injury occurs while waiting in the lift queue or when getting on and off the lift. Snowboarders push forward with their free foot while the other foot (usually the forefoot) is still in the binding. The angle of 45–90 degrees that occurs exerts a strong torsional force on the leg and can lead to knee injuries (especially cruciate ligament tears) if you fall. Against each rotatable binding plates between the snowboard binding and pick up this rotational forces. They enable snowboarders to turn their feet in the direction of travel without taking the boot out of the binding.


Web links

Commons : Snowboarding  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Snowboard  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Prantner: Tom Sims: The pioneer of the snowboard hype., September 25, 2012, accessed on June 2, 2013 .
  2. a b c d e Karl-Heinz Jeller: At 90 km / h the fun only begins. Surfers make waves on the bell ice. In: Kurier newspaper , July 6, 1986.
  4. a b c d Eddy Gruber (based on an idea by Manfred Kernstock): Swingbo alpin surf. 1. Curriculum. Weitgasser printing works, Kaprun November 1985.
  5. a b Compare, however: Contemporary video: "On behalf of Swingbo International 1985": Swing Bo Promo from 03/12/1985 on YouTube , 08:35, English, December 21, 2012. Video from the current period: Swingbo on YouTube , 3:04 am, September 21, 2009. Both accessed February 24, 2015.
  6. Kailee Bradstreet: FIS Rejects TTR's Proposal For Joint Olympic Qualification Calendar. In: Transworld Snowboard Magazine. November 8, 2011. (English)
  7. a b c William O. Roberts: Bull's Handbook of Sports Injuries . 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Medical, New York NY 2004, ISBN 0-07-140291-8 , pp. 550 .
  8. ^ A b William O. Roberts: Bull's Handbook of Sports Injuries . 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Medical, New York NY 2004, ISBN 0-07-140291-8 , pp. 555 .
  9. Snowboarding Injuries - Wrist Fractures ( Memento of the original from July 17, 2012 in the web archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In: @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. ^ William O. Roberts: Bull's Handbook of Sports Injuries . 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Medical, New York NY 2004, ISBN 0-07-140291-8 , pp. 556 .
  11. ^ Terence M. Davidson, Aristotelis T. Laliotis: Snowboarding injuries, a four-year study with comparison with alpine ski injuries. In: The Western journal of medicine. Volume 164, Number 3, March 1996, pp. 231-237, PMID 8775935 , PMC 1303417 (free full text) .; see. Stuart C. Callé, James T. Evans: Snowboarding trauma. In: Journal of Pediatric Surgery. Vol. 30, No. 6, 1995, ISSN  0022-3468 , pp. 791-794, doi : 10.1016 / 0022-3468 (95) 90749-1 .