ABC-CLIO/Greenwood - Reference


The Ultimate Guide

by Holly Thorpe


In snowboarding's infancy, it didn't have many fans. Many ski resorts in North America banned the early snowboarders; in 1988, Time magazine declared snowboarding "the worst new sport." Surprisingly, it has grown from being a marginal activity for a few oddball participants to an Olympic sport with mass appeal—in just four decades.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Snowboarding

January 2012


Pages 205
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Sports, Recreation, and Leisure

This book provides a comprehensive look at the snowboarding phenomenon, including its history; techniques and equipment; biographies of the sport’s pioneers, athletes, and heroes; key sites and events; and future directions.

While snowboarding didn't become a commercial success until the early 1980s, the roots of the modern snowboard go back to at least 1964, when Sherman Poppen invented the "Snurfer" by bolting two skis together and adding a rope for stability. Today snowboarding is one of the most prominent and appealing youth sports. Want proof? Professional snowboarder and two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White was the highest paid athlete entering the 2010 Winter Olympics with an estimated annual salary of $10 million.

The book is a highly accessible and extensive overview of snowboarding, providing an introduction to the sport and lifestyle of snowboarding; a historical timeline of the rapid growth of snowboarding; techniques and equipment used; and a discussion of key places and events, such as Alaska, Winter X Games, and the Winter Olympics.


  • Draws on interviews with more than 100 snowboarders
  • Provides a chronology of snowboarding, starting from the mid 1960s to the present
  • Includes biographical sketches of pioneers, athletes, and heroes, such as Jake Burton, Shaun White, and Craig Kelly
  • Includes numerous photographs illustrating snowboarding in different sites, key events, and various styles of participation
  • A bibliography lists the most useful, reliable, and accessible resources for understanding the topic, including videos and organizational listings
  • A glossary defines key terms
  • Each chapter includes interesting sidebars on related issues, controversies, people, events, and even pop culture tie-ins


  • Written by an author who is both an internationally recognized scholar of extreme sport and a long-time snowboarding enthusiast
  • Offers the first comprehensive, academically informed, and accessible overview of snowboarding
  • Draws upon an extensive array of the most up-to-date and relevant sources
Author Info

Holly Thorpe is senior lecturer in the Department of Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, where she teaches courses on the social psychology of sport and physical culture. Her published works include the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Extreme Sports (with Douglas Booth) and Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice. She has won academic awards and been published in journals including Journal of Sport and Social Issues, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, and Sociology of Sport Journal. Thorpe was an active participant in snowboarding competitions, and continues to pursue fresh snow around the world.

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