In the late 1960s, Utah resident Dimitrije Milovich - inspired by surfing films of the day - started making his own snowboards. In 1972 he dropped out of college, moved back to Utah and patented his first design: the Swallowtail. By 1976 he founded the Winterstick company which went on to produce 1500 snowboards that year. Other early innovators such as Jake Burton Carpenter and Tom Sims founded their own snowboard companies, pioneering designs for boards and bindings that were inspired by skateboarding and surfing. Early riders prided themselves as members of a counterculture inventing a crazy, new sport.
Ski resorts were leery of the new sport and bans on snowboarding were put into place. In 1985, only 7% of American ski resorts allowed snowboarding. The Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998 demonstrated the new sport’s widespread acceptance by including giant slalom and half-pipe snowboarding at the Games. As of 2023 only three resorts in America still ban snowboarders: Alta, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen.