Sunday, October 26, 2008

The True History of Snowboarding*

(*Some of the following may actually be the truth). The history of illicit snowboarding is the history of snowboarding itself. It all started on the tiny island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Africa on the 26th August 1896. On the death of the Sultan a lad called Khalid bin Barghash rightfully succeeded the throne. The new sultan had done this without the permission of the British though and they were a tad miffed by his impertinence. The British declared war and 40 minutes later, after opening a can o’ wup-ass, the war finished with a decisive British victory. It was the shortest war in history... 

(Surprisingly the French haven’t got this record)

This one short war in the far reaches of the British Empire has gone largely unnoticed in the annals of history, but it had a lasting impact on the world of snowsports. You see, around about 23 minutes into the battle a small band of fugitives from the palace made their brave retreat.
This band of hugely unsuccessful soldiers fled to the mainland to what was then German East Africa and is now, more catchily named, Tanzania, eventually settling/cowering in the shadow of a huge snow-capped volcano. They named the mountain Kilimanjaro, Swahili for “big white fluffy hiding mountain”.

The rag tag troop settled here where they made a modest harvesting ice cream from the slopes of the great mountain. Yeah, that’s how you make ice cream. 

The illicit ice cream stall circa 1901

But what made this group special was that they developed a method of harvesting the ice cream that involved a man riding a large wooden snowscraper down the mountain. This was the very first snowboard. 

Legendary snowscraper - Bob

In 1921 the close-knit community (now suffering from the rampages of inbreeding) realised they needed to branch out. Small groups set out to find other mountains to harvest across the four corners of the globe. When they reached their destinations they were horrified to find that the mountains were already occupied by their sworn enemies, British upper class types who ruled the early skiing scene.

Under the cover of their small ice cream stalls started to establish their influence in all aspects of mountain life beneath the aloof noses of the establishment. Fiftyish years later and with their power base now in place they started to make public the secrets of snowscraping that had been passed down through generations.

First ever snowboarding comp. 1923

(It was at this point that snowscraping was rebranded snowboarding to avoid the dangers of misspelling it snowscrapping.)

The illicit snowcat hits Alaska 1943

The illicit Games 1951

Today this organisation of former Zanzibarian rebels is the true power behind snowboarding around the globe. Now with the demise of the British Empire and the defeat of the toffs on the mountains themselves, they are in a position to be able to finally reveal the secrets of snowboarding. Ladies and Gentlemen through the power of the interweb and this blog we will bring you the thoughts and secrets of this hidden clan.

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