Get Inspired: SNOWBOARD
Snowboarding developed its own unique scene in the 1990s, creating and embracing a subculture of music and fashion that goes hand-in-hand with the sport.
Snowboarding combines elements of skiing, skateboarding and surfing, and - as with many other winter sports - was initially utilised as a form of transport. As early as the 1920s, forms of snowboarding existed whereby people would use planks of wood to aid travel across snow-covered ground.
There are numerous disciplines involved in the sport of snowboarding, involving any number of stunts and styles, from the open nature of freestyle to specialist events like parallel giant slalom.
Getting involved is easy as there is a network of indoor snow centres and outdoor slopes across the UK. Snowsport England provides a handy club and slope finder, as do Snowsport Wales and Snowsport Scotland, for those wanting to get started. For Snowsport in Northern Ireland the Ski Club of Northern Ireland has a Facebook page with information.
Snowsport England run a national participation campaign called GO SKI GO BOARD which offers all inclusive snowboarding (and ski) sessions at an affordable price for both beginners and those wanting to get back into the sport or have had a go before.
British Ski and Snowboard (BSS) is the national governing body of skiing and snowboarding in the UK. BSS manages elite teams and also provides a pathway into those teams for those who want to compete at elite level.
Why is it good for you?
Snowboarding is considered a high-intensity aerobic workout, in which the average snowboarder can burn up to 450 calories per hour.
Along with being an ideal form of weight-loss exercise, snowboarding works core muscles due to the need for constant balance at high speeds. Flexibility is improved through the need to constantly change direction whilst maintaining balance.
Moreover, snowboarding offers a change of scenery and - for many people - represents a compelling, challenging sport enjoyed in a highly social atmosphere.
Snowboarding's genesis came in 1960s America but the sport didn't take on competitive characteristics until 1982, when the US held its first national championships, with the inaugural World Championships following a year later.
FIS, the international ski federation, recognised snowboarding as a discipline in 1994 - which paved the way for its introduction as an Olympic sport at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.
Giant slalom and half-pipe competitions were the first disciplines to be introduced that year, with snowboard cross later added for the Turin Games. Slopestyle is new for Sochi 2014.