Which Decade Was the Best For Snowboarding?

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


This was a decade when pipes got supersized and snowboarding produced its first global superstar. Step forward Shaun White. Photo – Gabe L’Heureux

In a nutshell?

After being hyped relentlessly through the 1990s, snowboarding entered the new millennium ready to take on the world. Shaun White went from being an outstanding grom to a world-beating, Flying Tomato, while jibbers like JP Walker and Jeremy Jones brought ‘gangsta’ style to the streets. Back on the hill we nearly reached parity with our skiing brethren (in terms of numbers), but we lost something too: snowboarding was no longer underground.


Burton’s foray into some old-school powder shapes was cool, but our outfits went haywire – while we once mocked the 80s one-pieces, a new range of matching plaid, tartan and camo outfits took us to a similar fashion hell. On the flip side, snowboard gear got cheap, and with a TK Maxx in every high street, suddenly everyone was a ‘boarder’. The jury is still out as to whether this was a good thing.

Empty slopes?

Fat chance. The mountains were now a sea of Burton Customs and Oakley A Frames. Though in 2008, all that changed (see below).

Resorts were clambering over each other to get a decent park set up. Apart from France of course.

Park life?

Given that Shaun White spent the decade grinning out from the cover of every magazine (Time, Rolling Stone etc.) it’s no surprise that resorts were clambering over each other to get a decent park and pipe set up. Apart from France of course, they couldn’t give deux shits.

If you could do a 360…

Whatever dude, send in the ‘sponsors me’ tape when you’ve got every seven on lock down.

Pro of the decade?

Mr White, whose onslaught of the shred world was nothing short of a snowboarding jihad. Which might go some way to explaining the burka he sported throughout.


Was a badly branded decaf coffee jar.

Film of the decade?

All David and Boris Benedek’s films – including Afterbang, 91 Words for Snow and In Short– were vintage snowboarding: amazing action but most of all fun. They were also dinosaurs: by the end of the decade YouTube meant anyone could make a mini-movie, and the world was saturated with pro rider snowboard clips.

JP Walker cast a big shadow over the millennium. And that was just his chin. Photo – Andy Wright

Graphic of the decade?

Hats off to Lib Tech’s continued commitment to the Jamie Lynn series of boards. An awesome rider and legendary artwork. Especially if you like blue ladies, cats, and big boobs. Ah we’re a simple lot aren’t we?

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

Then you’d do no better than setting the date to the start of the 2008 winter season in Europe. The credit crunch had just hit, everyone had canned their ski holidays and the slopes were empty. Then – joy of joy – the heavens opened, and it puked endless powder for months. Whoop whoop! That’s the sound of the retro snow alarm.


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