Genesis - The Dawn of Snowboarding

Death or glory. It was a roll of the dice. Nothing stood between the icy hilltop and finish-line far below. Snow swirled up from the void, flat–light shrouding the horizon. Pulling up to the shoulder, we stepped off our boards, steadying against the vertigo. Few of us had ever tried riding ski-areas let alone steep icy trails.

A normal day would’ve found us riding sandpits, dumps, backyards and hills around the neighborhoods we grew up in. But this was not a normal day. This was 1982. We were getting ready to compete in the National Snow Surfing Championships taking place at Suicide Six in Vermont. Dropping in was gnarlier than anything we had ever contemplated but one thing was clear. Stopping would not be an option.

Suicide Six was the inception of a new era. Snowboarding was young. It didn’t even have a name. Snurfing was about to grow up. The sports earliest pioneers, receiving visions from surfing and skating, appeared from all corners of the United States to realize the dream. The fire had been lit!

Bob Novak: Old school style & perfection If you’ve got an old Burton Backhill then chances are it’s got Bobs signature on it. Bob left Michigan during the summer of 1982 to go make boards for Jake in Vermont. I also lived at Jakes house that summer and got to spend a lot of time with Bob. He was one of the top Snurfers but never made the full transition to snowboarding. Bob used a rope in the DH but opted to give it up here in the slalom. An all around great guy, Bob Novak = certified badass and pioneer of the sport.

Bob Novak: Old school style & perfection If you’ve got an old Burton Backhill then chances are it’s got Bobs signature on it. Bob left Michigan during the summer of 1982 to go make boards for Jake in Vermont. I also lived at Jakes house that summer and got to spend a lot of time with Bob. He was one of the top Snurfers but never made the full transition to snowboarding. Bob used a rope in the DH but opted to give it up here in the slalom. An all around great guy, Bob Novak = certified badass and pioneer of the sport.

Tom Pushaw: 50mph+ on a Snurfer. Tom and Bill Pushaw represented the highest levels of performance in Snurfing. Shown here just before cresting the knoll and crashing. Snurfer technology was already outdated. The fact that Tom dropped in let alone made it this far was heroic!

Tom Pushaw: 50mph+ on a Snurfer. Tom and Bill Pushaw represented the highest levels of performance in Snurfing. Shown here just before cresting the knoll and crashing. Snurfer technology was already outdated. The fact that Tom dropped in let alone made it this far was heroic!

Chris Karol  (aka; yours truly) puts the fin on lock and  rails a Burton Backhill during the Suicide Six Slalom event. The Slalom consisted of 4 bamboo gates with panels marking the corridor. The otherwise straight-shot took off from a steep pitch, leveled off a bit then rolled over the knoll to the finish. If you made it past the knoll you were pretty much guaranteed to cross the finish line one-way or another.

Chris Karol (aka; yours truly) puts the fin on lock and rails a Burton Backhill during the Suicide Six Slalom event. The Slalom consisted of 4 bamboo gates with panels marking the corridor. The otherwise straight-shot took off from a steep pitch, leveled off a bit then rolled over the knoll to the finish. If you made it past the knoll you were pretty much guaranteed to cross the finish line one-way or another.

Not sure who this is but that looks like an early Sims FE 1550. Oh yeah! And this guy just slammed 50 yards up the hill, for sure has a concussion and is about to get the full-on leash-snap Cuisinart treatment from his board. I wonder if he had steel edges yet? Pretty sure he slid across the finish.

Not sure who this is but that looks like an early Sims FE 1550. Oh yeah! And this guy just slammed 50 yards up the hill, for sure has a concussion and is about to get the full-on leash-snap Cuisinart treatment from his board. I wonder if he had steel edges yet? Pretty sure he slid across the finish.

Jake Burton: That board Jake’s riding is one of a few Backhills ever made with a P-Tex base. Riding the rope looked sketchy as hell. Not sure when Jake gave it up but it he was running it short here which is proper rope-tech so I’ve been told.

Jake Burton: That board Jake’s riding is one of a few Backhills ever made with a P-Tex base. Riding the rope looked sketchy as hell. Not sure when Jake gave it up but it he was running it short here which is proper rope-tech so I’ve been told.

“I never used the rope and remember asking Jake why he still included them with his boards. Jake said he needed the rope-holes in the nose of the board so he could hang them up after dipping in urethane. The problem was if he didn’t include the rope, then people would ask what the holes were for and complain. He could’ve just shown them this picture and said the holes were in the nose for aerodynamics!” Chris Karol lifts off in the 1982 Suicide Six Downhill.

“I never used the rope and remember asking Jake why he still included them with his boards. Jake said he needed the rope-holes in the nose of the board so he could hang them up after dipping in urethane. The problem was if he didn’t include the rope, then people would ask what the holes were for and complain. He could’ve just shown them this picture and said the holes were in the nose for aerodynamics!” Chris Karol lifts off in the 1982 Suicide Six Downhill.

David Alert: Looks like no binding on the front foot, with a rubber band over the back. It was a time of rampant experimentation and overnight development. Suicide Six marked a transition from the pinnacle of Snurfing into the dawning age of Snowboarding.

David Alert: Looks like no binding on the front foot, with a rubber band over the back. It was a time of rampant experimentation and overnight development. Suicide Six marked a transition from the pinnacle of Snurfing into the dawning age of Snowboarding.

Chris Karol4 Comments