Which Decade Was the Best For Snowboarding?

THE 80's, 90's, 00's AND 10's GO HEAD-TO-HEAD


Dave Seoane in the 90s.

In a nutshell?

 The 90s saw shredding take off in a big way. Everyone wanted a piece of the action, from Joe Public to big business to the Olympics. Snowboarding was officially cool. How do we know this? Because Channel 4 ran a dedicated weekly show called ‘Board Stupid’ and Argos photoshopped riders onto their catalogue TV screens.


Rebelling against the ski world, we ditched our neon outerwear, picked up the grunge baton, and invented the lumberjack-meets-MC Hammer look with oversized gear, bandanas, and plaid shirts. The now defunct Wave Rave clothing even made what was essentially an oversized boiler suit for the snow. Baseless bindings were invented, but as soon as people realised ‘more snow feel’ meant ‘agonising vibrations’, they went the same was as the boiler suit. Shame really, I liked ‘em both.

For a while, snowboarding was so cool that revered skaters like John Cardiel were getting involved. Yep, smells like a golden era. Or is that teen spirit? Photo – Bud Fawcett

Empty slopes?

At the beginning of the decade, the slopes were pretty empty and powder was still a throwaway commodity. 10 years later, an estimated 12-million snowboarders were shredding the rad and Jake Burton was splashing his wedge in an Amex advert. The crowds had arrived.

Park life?

The world’s first snowpark opened in 1991 in Vail, Colorado, followed quickly by other resorts like Saas Fee in Switzerland, and Mammoth Mountain, California. And a couple of enterprising Canadian piste basher engineers invented a machine to cut transitions, at a stroke dismantling the camaraderie that competitors had when they dug the halfpipe out with their own shovels. Yes, it used to happen.

Within 10 years, an estimated 12-million snowboarders were shredding the rad and Jake Burton was splashing his wedge in an Amex advert

If you could do a 360…

You’d get the eyebrow-lift-of-nuff-respect from other shredders on the hill.

Pro of the decade?

Another Terry, this time a Norwegian one named Terje Haakonsen. There’s something in them chocolate oranges isn’t there?


Was the same as a faceplant, but in a library.

Film of the decade?

Volcom’s The Garden, a 56-minute tour de force of snowboarding progression, messing around and beautiful photography. Essentially it’s a David Benedek film about 10 years before Benedek started to make films.

The 90s were all about Gazza… and Tezza. Director Dave Seone dedicated no less than two full films to the Haakon’s riding talent. And yes, he used Pink Floyd’s ‘Have a Cigar’ in the soundtrack. Photo – Bud Fawcett

Graphic of the decade?

The Noah Salasnek skateboard deck was a banger, but Terje’s first pro model, with the cartoon Norwegian sword base, is an all-time classic.

If you had a time machine and could go back to one moment…

Personally I’d like to go back and hang out with Ross Rabagliati in the 6-month run up to his 1998 Olympic gold medal, filming his Cheech & Chong style preparations and the subsequent, farcical Japanese Games.


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