Snowboard History

Snowskates – Awesome Archive Footage of What Might Have Been…

Ever since riders like Terry Kidwell started taking skate tricks to snow, snowboarders have been obsessed with the idea of doing things “skate style”.

Think about it. Baggy G-Funk-era homies like Marc Frank Montoya and Nico Droz; skinny-jeaned rail rats like Forest Bailey and Jed Anderson (who by the way, is shit-hot on a skateboard); even backcountry Jedi Devun Walsh (who can’t have been near a street rail in years) all of them claim to take their inspiration from skating.

It’s the same with gear. DC’s “fresh-deck” topsheets, Rome’s “skatecore profiling”, and Now’s truck-inspired bindings, all borrow elements from our concrete riding cousins.

But what if all these riders and brands have been missing a trick (no pun intended)? What if the way to take the feel of skateboarding to the snow was actually just… to take skateboards to the snow?

Snowskates. Not really the answer.

That’s what these kids were doing back in the 70s, with cheap plastic plates that slip over their trucks, and rudimentary strap bindings. And whatever the commentator might say sneeringly about the cost compared to doing it “right outside your front door”, it looks pretty fun. Certainly a hell of a lot better than most of those mid-2000s snowskates.

This footage is from 1978, one year after Jake Burton founded his company. It’s tempting to think what might have been if these – rather than snowboards as we know them – had caught on. Where would the sport have developed? Perhaps we’d still be making misogynistic jokes like “a kid without a skateboard is like a woman without a credit card”. Or perhaps we’d all be wearing flares and rad plastic aviators? Now that would be cool…

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