So you've begged, borrowed or rented your equipment up until now, but it's time to bite the bullet and buy some gear of your own. We know that choosing a new pair of boots, bindings and a board from the plethora of choice can be quite a complex and daunting task. Here's our guide to help you cross the Rubicon.
The first modern snowboard was created in the 1960s when an engineer in Michigan, USA, fastened two skis together with a rope at one end for control. Dubbed the 'snurfer', when licensed to a manufacturer it sold about a million boards over the next decade. Other early pioneers were skateboarders and kids using their local and dry ski slopes throughout the seventies, and one such 'snurfer' was Jake Burton Carpenter from Vermont. He had designed bindings to secure his feet to his snurfer, and in 1977 founded Burton Snowboards, making 'snowboards' out of flexible wooden planks. Burton's early designs for boards with bindings became the dominant features in snowboarding and his company would go on to become the biggest snowboarding company in the business.
As it grew throughout the seventies and eighties, the sport we know today was born, with its core equipment consisting of a board with specialised bindings and boots. In the nineties snowboarding became mainstream, being recognised as an official international sport with it's own federation, high-profile competitions were held worldwide and it became an Olympic event in 1998.
The basic construction of a snowboard is very similar to that of skis. A core, usually made of wood, is shaped to create a profile that gives the board its shape, stiffness and camber. The core is coated in fiberglass to add torsional flex and more stiffness. The outer layer is made of porous polyethylene for the base and top sheet of fiberglass. The outer edge of the snowboard is a metal strip that forms the contact point for the board.
That is a very simplified outline of snowboard construction and, as snowboarding has evolved as a sport, the methods and materials used as well as the design of snowboards have changed. Now there is a huge amount of choice on offer when it comes to buying a snowboard from short, soft, detuned street rail boards to split boards for touring.