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Snowboarding craze takes flight

Snowboarding began in the 1960s and was invented by Sherman Poppen of Springs, Colorado. He originally used a board and attached a rope to the nose. He called this “snurfing;” a mixture of surfing, skiing and skateboarding. By the late 1970s snurfing became known as snowboarding and it was on its way to becoming an established sport.

The popularity of snowboarding has flared due to media coverage and the availability of boarding equipment. Different boarding styles have been classified into categories such as Modern racing, Freeriding and Freestyling.

“I have been working on my freeriding since I have only been boarding for a few years,” Clinton Jeffries,’04, said. “Once I get better I will probably start doing harder tricks.”

Freeriding is a more common form of snowboarding. Once a boarder learns the basics he can begin to explore the mountain going over natural bumps and jumps. This is easier than attempting to do freestyle boarding. Freestyling includes gravity defying tricks and spins.

“I’ve been doing freestyling for a few years,” Nick Carrera,’05, said. “It’s like you are flying and it is more exciting than modern racing.”

Modern racing is based on speed discipline and control. Advances in equipment technology allow racers to reach high speeds and make sharp turns.

“Modern racing is awesome,” Aaron Shamblin,’02, said. “It’s amazing that boarders can reach those speeds without totally wiping out.”

Though snowboarding has become popular, it is an extreme sport and it can be highly dangerous. Bad falls and wrong turns can result in anything from minor scrapes to broken bones.

“When I was doing a jump, I leaned to the wrong side and broke my tail bone,” Carrera said. “I had to stay in bed and ended up missing out on the rest of the season. It was really depressing.”

One of the most popular sites to snowboard is Sierra Summit and is about two hours north of Fresno. The rates are $30 for a full day pass and $22 for a half-day pass. The last snowfall was March 24-3 inches. The current base snow level is 10-24 inches. There are 3 of 11 lifts and 9 of 26 that are currently open. Sierra Summit is open Mon-Fri: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sat/Sun: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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