Opening Photo: Tim Manning
Snowboarding folklore has tended to focus on the infamous rivalry that burned between Jake Burton and Tom Sims through much of the 1980s. This, we’re told, was the moment our sport faced a fork in the road – a battle for its soul between the speed-focused racer and the skate-inspired freestyler.
But there was another character in that early drama who seemed, for many years, to have been cast out of the narrative. Dimitrije Milovich was a pioneering board designer based out of Utah, whose “Wintersticks” were heavily influenced not by skis or skateboards but the surf. Featuring long noses, tapered curves and extensive swallow tails, they excelled in deep snow.
“What is a face shot if not a spitting barrel, and what is a pipe wall if not a perfect, frozen wave?”
Looked at in the context of today, this third historical strand – with its emphasis on turns and flow – was not some obscure 70s cul-de-sac but an essential thread that continues to connect all of snowboarding, from the Petran riders in Turkey some 300 years ago to Regis Rolland, Craig Kelly and beyond. It also serves as a bridge to our sister boardriders on the ocean, and all of the rich history that that entails. After all, what is a face shot if not a spitting barrel, and what is a pipe wall if not a perfect, frozen wave?
The recent trend away from skiddy park turns in favour of hard carving on piste and pow has seemed like a belated acknowledgement of that surf heritage. And in the world of board design, the result has been an explosion in creative shapes not seen since Milovich closed the doors on his original factory.
Californian native Jeremy Jones, an avid surfer himself, has naturally found himself drawn to this increasingly popular movement. To be honest, it’s a calling he’s followed since he first strapped in. The French called it ‘surf le neige’; he calls it ‘The Glide’.