World Snowboard Day Hits December 19
Billed as the biggest winter-sports event of its kind, World Snowboard Day is set to take place on December 19th with events in over 40 countries throughout the world. Organized by the World Snowboarding Federation and co-sponsored by EuroSima and Outdoor Sports Valley, the event enters its fifth year with more planned events than ever.
Founded by Remi Forsans, a snowboarder based in France, the event was created with two main goals: 1) to help continue to bring the sport of snowboarding into the mainstream; and 2) to bring in new snowboarders. The first goal has always been high on the mind of snowboarders throughout the world. In its early days, snowboarding was widely seen as a rebellious and dangerous sport, and it was often pushed to the side (or banned outright on some slopes) in favor of the more popular and conservative skiing.
These days, thanks to efforts of snowboarding advocates everywhere, the sport has gained widespread recognition and is no longer regarded as the pariah of winter sports. But one could say that the sport still has a long way to go. Widespread recognition aside, it’s still often seen as a second-tier alternative to skiing. It drives many of the trends in winter sports, but organizers feel that snowboarding could become even more successful.
World Snowboard Day still has the most traction in Europe, where the event began, but it’s also gaining ground in North America, where there are over dozens of Snowboarding Day Events planned, especially in the northeastern U.S.
In the growing snowboarding communities in Australia, South Africa, and Argentina, where summer is hitting its stride, there will obviously be no snowboarding on World Snowboard Day, but this hasn’t stopped southern hemisphere boarders from organizing their own parties to celebrate the snowboarding spirit.
Launched in 2006, the event originally had a tiny budget of 5,000 Euro and was designated Snowboarding D-Day. After the event became popular, organizers realized that they needed to come up with a name that didn’t evoke the darkness of the Second World War, especially considering that there are thriving communities of snowboarders in Germany and Japan.
Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find World Snowboard Day activities at your nearest slopes on the 19th. Some events include professional demonstrations of the latest equipment and techniques, free lessons for new boarders, and competitions for snowboarders at all levels. There will also be concerts and parties, as well as events calling attention to the environmental issues that are so important to athletes who treasure the outdoors.
It’s estimated that there will be over 1900 activities around the world involving over 70,000 participants. It’s unknown exactly how many countries will hold events, but the number seems to grow every year, and there were something like 35 countries involved in the 2009 World Snowboard Day festivities.
Organizers within the sport hope that events such as World Snowboard Day will continue to build momentum for a sport that gained huge exposure thanks to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Meanwhile, it was recently announced that the first World Snowboarding Championships would be held in Norway in 2012.
World Snowboard Day joins other similar days which have grown in popularity over recent years thanks to social networks that allow people with shared interests to communicate and organize events across the world. In Spain, for example, a relatively small group of people already celebrate December 19th by snowboarding and surfing on the same day. If you’re interested in getting involved with a World Snowboard Day event in your area, check out the organization’s web site.