Woodstock 1982 Credit: Richard Howard, Vermont Life Magazine, Burton Coporation, Paul Graves
As part of its Fourth Annual Woodstock Winter Carnival, the Suicide Six Ski Area hosted the 1982 National Snow Surfing Championships. Reflecting the obscurity of the sport at the time, the newswire announced, “No, we are not making this up! If you like snow and have a taste for the unusual, consider the National Snow Surfing Championships.”[i] About 150 participants registered for the slalom, giant slalom and freestyle events. Insert Image #77 Paul Graves, the organizer of the event, was the owner of Snowboard East, one of first exclusive snowboard retail shops in North America. Although the news focused on the freak nature of the sport, through the play on words in the headline “Snow Surfing Tourney is Snow Joke” and during The Today Show spot, Bryant Gumbel and Willard Scott“were giggling to themselves as they delivered the news to millions from their anchor desk deep in New York City.”[ii] Although breaking his thumb as he crashed into the finish line hay bales, Californian Tom Sims won the downhill, Burton rider Doug Bouton won the slalom and claimed overall honors. Bouton hurdled “63 mph down a steep hill in sneakers at a resort appropriately called Suicide Six.”[iii]
[i]“Snow Surfing Tourney is Sno Joke.” Knight News Service, February 6, 1982, Newspaper clipping, Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Website. N.D. Web. March 20, 2015.
[ii] “US Open Special @ Stratton, VT.” The Ski Guru Blog. Boston.com. March 18, 2008.Web. March 28, 2015.
[iii] Lee, Jean H, “Snowboarding is hot,” Cincinnati Inquirer, Sunday, April 14, 2002.