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snowboarding


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A sport based upon descents down snow-covered slopes, in which the boarder's feet are attached to a snowboard using a boot mounted on the board. The sport was developed in the region of Michigan, USA, in the 1960s and 1970s. Organized national and international competitions were staged in the early 1980s. In 1985, the first World Cup was held in Austria, and the International Snowboard Federation (ISF) was founded in 1989, with the objective of standardizing competition criteria and regulations but also seeking to sustain the fun in competition. In 1998, at Nagano, Japan, the sport made its Olympic debut. The increasing popularity of the sport and the alternative style of the snowboarders (in both physical dexterity and clothing image) initially created tensions on the slopes of skiing resorts, but as the sophistication of the boarders increased, they were permitted to use almost all ski slopes. Jake Burton, an early innovator of the snowboard, who went on to found a leading equipment provider for the sport, commented in a radio interview in the USA in 2002 on the cultural distinctiveness of snowboarding:It doesn't have to be an extreme sport at all. There's a lot of people that, you know, snowboard in a conservative manner. But I think that what's a better moniker is maybe that it's a lifestyle sport, and a lot of the kids and people that are doing it are just completely living it all the time, and that's what distinguishes snowboarding from a lot of other sports. (cited in Belinda Wheaton, ed., Understanding Lifestyle Sports: Consumption, Identity and Difference, London, Routledge, 2004, p. 4).Burton also stressed the sheer fun of board sports.

It doesn't have to be an extreme sport at all. There's a lot of people that, you know, snowboard in a conservative manner. But I think that what's a better moniker is maybe that it's a lifestyle sport, and a lot of the kids and people that are doing it are just completely living it all the time, and that's what distinguishes snowboarding from a lot of other sports. (cited in Belinda Wheaton, ed., Understanding Lifestyle Sports: Consumption, Identity and Difference, London, Routledge, 2004, p. 4).

With Olympic recognition, snowboarding came under the control of the International Ski Federation, and the ISF folded in 2002, losing its sponsors while still seeking to speak on behalf of ‘the kids in baggy pants and backward hats’. The ISF had declared itself to be more than just a sports federation, also ‘a lifestyle/peace movement and philosophy’. As the sport's popularity continued to grow worldwide, the sport's culture was changing under the media spotlight and in the marketplace: the first snowboarding magazine, produced in 1985, was named Absolutely Radical, but later renamed more prosaically the International Snowboarding Magazine. Inspired by motocross, Snowboard Cross was a new event introduced at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.


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