Top 5 FAQs about Snowboarding

1) How dangerous is snowboarding?

It’s about as safe or as dangerous as you want it to be. While there is always some inherent danger in the sport most problems are due to “pilot error”. Pay attention to posted signs… they’re there for a reason. Board in control. Don’t Board in closed areas. The injury rate for skiing has been fairly level at about 3 injuries per thousand skier-days. These injuries include everything from minor bruises and lacerations to broken necks. The most common injuries are thumb and knee injuries. Snowboarders experience about the same injury rate as skiers but the injuries tend to be to the wrist, ankle, and neck (refer to the injury section of this FAQ (8.11) for more info). You *cankill yourself snowboarding. You can also kill somebody else. Stay in control. That being said it should also be mentioned that you’re probably more likely to slip and fall in the parking lot…

2) What’s this “Your Responsibility Code” thing?

This use to be known as The Skier’s Responsibility Code but is now simply referred to as Your Responsibility Code. Rather than saying much *aboutit, we’ll just include it here. Note: This code is widely accepted in the United States… other countries may have similar codes. One netter reports that this code is similar to what’s posted in New Zealand.

Your Responsibility Code: Skiing can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country or other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled and other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the following code and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience. 1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. 2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them. 3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above. 4. Whenever starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others. 5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment. 6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas. 7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

Your Responsibility Code is endorsed by The American Ski Federation, National Ski Patrol, United States Ski Industries Association, Professional Ski Instructors of America, Cross Country Ski Areas Association, United States Ski Association, Ski Coach’s Association, and other organizations. The European countries have the FIS-rules (Federation International de Ski). They are a basis for courtroom decisions but are not laws. The FIS-rules are:

The FIS-rules: 1. Consideration of the other Skiers Every skier has to behave in a way he or she doesn’t endanger or damage any other. 2. Controlling of speed and way of skiing Every skier has to ski on sight. He has to adapt his speed and way of skiing to his abilities and the conditions of the terrain, the snow and the weather as to the traffic density. 3. Choice of track The skier coming from behind another has to choose his track so that skiers before him won’t be endangered. 4. Overtaking Overtaking is allowed from above or below, from right or left but always with a distance so that the skier being overtaken has space enough for all his movements. 5. Entering and restarting Every skier entering a trail or starting after a halt has to assure himself uphill and downhill of the fact that he can do so without danger for himself and others. 6. Stopping Every skier has to avoid stopping at small or blind places of a trail without need. A fallen skier has to free such a place as quick as possible. 7. Mounting and descend A skier mounting or descending by feet has to use the border of the trail. 8. Pay attention to signs Every skier has to pay attention to the marks and signs. 9. Behavior in case of accidents In case of accidents every skier has to help. 10. Duty of proving identity Every skier whether witness or involved, whether responsible or not has to prove his identity in case of an accident.

3) What is snowboarding? 

Snowboarding is the relatively new sport which can be visually compared to skateboarding and surfing except done on snow. The rider stands on the board with his/her left or right foot forward, facing one side of the board. The feet are attached to the board via high-back or plate bindings which are non-releasable. Although there is at least one manufacturer of releasable bindings, they are not widely used. The sport is distinct from monoskiing. In monoskiing both feet are side by side on a single ski and the skier faces forward. Some sports which have overlap in skills to snowboarding include: skurfing, skateboarding, surfing, water skiing and certainly snow skiing. In the following sections many comparisons are made to skiing because of its widespread familiarity. If unfamiliar with snowboarding terminology the reader should first refer to the What Is All This Weird Talk? section.

4) What is snowboard skiing? 

Simply put, it is the legal name for snowboarding. Probably contrived by the lawyers and the insurance companies sometime in the 80’s. The PSIA also refers to snowboarding as snowboard skiing. This means it has all the privileges and liabilities of alpine skiing. Legally speaking there is no technical difference between any form of skiing, including: telemark, cross-country, mono, downhill, snowboard, boot-skiing.

5) What is the history of snowboarding? 

Snowboarding became popular only in the last 10 years. It was pioneered in the late 70’s by a small group including Jake Burton Carpenter, Chuck Barfoot, and Tom Sims. All now head or have led snowboard companies with Burton being the largest snowboard manufacturer in the world. Burton gets most of the media’s credit for having incorporated the first high-back bindings, metal edges and snowboard boots into his line. All of the early pioneers were heavily influenced by surfboarding. The roots really start with the snurfer, that sled hill toy you may have ridden as a kid, shaped like a small water ski with a rope tied to the nose and a rough surface for traction from the center to the back where you stood. Sherman Poppin was the inventor of the snurfer which first appeared in the 1960s. As it turns out Jake Burton was involved in snurfer racing, a gag event put on by a group of bored college students. Well, he got the bright idea to put a foot retention device (little more than a strap at first) on his boards and began to win these events hands down. At about this same time several other people were busy inventing the sport. Jeff Grell is credited with designing the first highback binding. Demetre Malovich started Winterstick, which didn’t make it financially. He introduced several important factors early on in the sport like swallowtail designs, and laminated construction. Boots evolved from Sorels (TM) or Sno-pac type boots. Early “snowboard” boots were Sorel shells with ski boot type bladders. It was obvious that these early boots did not supply adequate support for the ankle and inhibited control of the boards. The first hard-shell “snowboard” boots were in fact ski boots. It didn’t take long for the first true hard-shell boot to be produced before the end of the eighties. Burton set up shop at Stratton Mountain in Vermont and by 1985 had incorporated steel edges and high-back bindings into his designs. The metal edges allowed use at regular ski resorts and the rest is hiss-toe-ree. In 1985 only 7 percent of U.S. ski areas allowed snowboards; today more than 97 percent do and over half have half pipes.