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Photo credit: Rob Varga

Long Island surfer, who had created one of the first snowboards without a rope to guide the rider. Milovich arrived in Utah in 1972 and hitched his way up to Snowbird to inquire about a job for the following winter to work on his design. He happened to catch a ride with the wife of Ted Johnson, Snowbird’s then owner, and she arranged a meeting with Johnson for him. After showing Johnson the snowboard design Milovich asked if he could test the board at Snowbird and Johnson agreed. Milovich also talked to Chick Morgan, Alta’s then general manager, to get approval to ride there as well. Morgan and Alta’s Ski Patrol agreed to let him ride at Alta after a screw and a leash were attached to the board. This was one of the first leashes for the snowboard and was for the safety of the sport and of those sharing the slopes. Milovich worked on his design, shaving down the board from 2” thick to 1/2” and added a swallowtail for control in Utah’s powder. In 1974 Stoveken moved to Utah and he and Milovich founded Winterstick THE BIRTH OF A SPORT – The beginning of snowboarding’s history Snowboards. Winterstick rolled out its first boards in 1977-78 with the can be traced back to Sherman Poppen, who invented the Snurfer in help of the three other passionate employees: Renee Sessions, Don 1965 for his kids on a small, snowy knoll in Muskegon, Michigan. This Moss and John Griffins. first design was a solid wood plank, but guided with the use of a rope attached to the nose. As momentum grew around the country, pockets of snowboarders took to the hills from coast to coast, and people across the nation began Near the same time, snowboards as we know them today were making snowboards. Tom Sims made SIMS boards in California, Jake beginning to be developed all over the United States with different Burton made Burton boards in Vermont and Mike Olson handcrafted designs for various snow conditions. Mervin boards in Colorado. Here in Utah, Winterstick snowboards grew in popularity and resorts allowed them on a limited basis. By the In 1972 Dimitrije Milovich quit college to pursue building the first late 1970s this new sport continued to grow with a core base, but at snowboards in Utah with the help and design of Wayne Stoveken, a trade shows there was still little support for it.

Rich Varga - Method off cornice

Unfortunately, a skier crashed at Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont and sued the resort. Consequently resorts had to create by-laws, skiat-your-own-risk instruction and ban nontraditional ski sports. This prohibited anything besides downhill Alpine skis; goodbye to telemark skis and snowboards. In 1981, with resorts banning snowboarding on the hills, Winterstick was forced to close its doors with only a few customers hiking and riding Utah’s powder. However, Milovich and Dwain Bush opened up a small windsurfing shop, called Milosport, which later became a core snowboarding shop. Winterstick was resurrected in 1994 as a Utah sports retailer and continues to make snowboards today, including the famous swallowtail. THE TUMULTUOUS TEENAGE YEARS – When resorts unanimously banned all sports besides downhill Alpine skiing, there was one exception, Alta Resort. If you wanted to load and unload on skis and then switch to a snowboard, you were allowed to do so, but not on groomed runs. Alta’s holdout on banning snowboarding ended in December 1984 when complaints about snowboarders leaving boot holes in cat tracks and their unruly behavior outweighed the value of their ticket purchases, and they were asked not to come back to Alta. In 1982, before the closure of Utah resorts for the season, Jake BurtonCarpenter said this in the first issue of Snowboard magazine, “I’ve had the most fun in resort areas, but I don’t think it should be pushed for resorts to have to allow snowboarders. After all, there is always the backwoods type of snowboarding. I think it should be stressed that if you can find a resort that allows you to ride there, courtesy must be used at all times. It will just help out in the long run.” The truth in this statement remains today: maintaining mutual respect is the only way to keep the sport available at public resorts.

Dimitrjie Milovich winter 2009

In 1985, snowboard manufactures Barfoot, Flite, SIMS and Burton were just starting to make a profit and organize snowboarding. The Southwest Surf Skiers Association was campaigning for snowboarding to be accepted at resorts around the country with chapters in each state talking to resorts


Sports Guide Winter 2009  

The premiere publication for outdoors enthusiasts, Sports Guide Magazine has promoted recreation, travel, health and fitness to readers thro...

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