It's no secret that I've been spending my summer studying the history of snowboarding. The deeper I go, the deeper it gets.
I wish powder was that way.
While exploring the history of the X-Games, which was a major force in bringing snowboarding into mainstream culture, I discovered the legendary Antti Autti. For some reason that I can't explain, I had never heard of the Finnish phenom, who was the first non-american to win the X-Games Superpipe. I also learned about snowboarding pioneer Peter Line, who had somehow escaped my attention.
And, gentlemen, I discovered the snowboarding crush of the century: Tara Dakides. This girl started riding at 18, and within five years was taking first place in international snowboarding competitions.
Did I mention that she's also a model and has been on the cover of Sports illustrated?
I'm in love.
Slightly less exciting, but very interesting was my exploration of the history of the Asian Winter Games. Did you know that Asia had it's own version of the Winter Olympics that include snowboarding? I had no idea.
And, I saved the most bizarre fact for last. I learned that snowboarding as a competitive sport owes an enormous debt to an unlikely organization-- The International Ski Federation -- which helped it gain legitimacy in international competition and become included in the Olympics.
Who would have thought?
Examining the history of snowboarding may not be as fun as actually doing it, but it's turning out to be a decent way to pass the off-season.