Snowboarding (or ‘snurfing’, as it was originally known) has been a popular winter activity for more than 40 years. And during that time, some truly astonishing records have been set. Here are some of the sport’s most mind-blowing achievements.
During a qualifying round for the 2007 Arctic Challenge in Oslo, Norwegian madman Terje Håkonsen – who made a name for himself on the 1990s freestyle circuit – sailed 9.8 meters (32.2 feet) into the air off the quarter-pipe and landed a backside 360. If Håkonsen’s name sounds familiar, it might be due to his featured appearance in First Descent, an excellent snowboarding doc that also starred Shaun White and Travis Rice.
Longest Tabletop Jump In 2005, Mads Jonsson (another Norwegian record-holder) set the record for the world’s longest jump – but that doesn’t even begin to describe the awesomeness of his feat. After he spent three weeks constructing a massive 131-foot tabletop in the backcountry of Hemsedal and rehearsed the maneuver for two hours, Jonsson catapulted himself 57 meters (187 feet) down the hill – and performed a perfect 180 indy – before landing the jump and securing his place in the record books (probably forever).
Though speed largely depends on the terrain and iciness of the snow, the average snowboarder travels between 25 and 35 miles per hour. Then there’s Australian Darren Powell, who defied the laws of kinetic energy and recorded a top speed of 126.4 miles per hour (202 kilometers per hour) at Les Arcs Resort in 1999. Powell’s achievement topped the previous record of 121.7 miles per hour (196 kilometers per hour) – which, incidentally, was also set by Powell.
Longest Rail Slide
In 2009, a Spaniard named Alejandro Benito performed a 67.9‑meter (223-foot) rail slide – a world record many called unbeatable at the time. Then, just two years later, a British teenager named Calum Paton bested Benito with a 78-meter (256-foot) grind at Sno!Zone, an indoor facility in the English town of Milton Keynes.
Most Vertical Feet in 24 hours
In 1998, snowboarder Tammy McMinn and her partner-in-crime, skier Jennifer Hughes, set the vertical heli records in their respective sports. How far did they go? According to Guinness, both ladies traveled roughly 93,124 meters (305,525 feet) in the span of 24 hours, smashing the existing men’s and women’s records in the process. McMinn and Hughes set this impossible-sounding record by descending the same run 101 times.
Largest Trick Relay
How’d you like to set a world record with a few dozen of your closest snowboarding buddies? That’s basically what happened a few weeks ago at Chill Factore, an indoor facility in Manchester, when 60 child and adult riders simultaneously attempted to land an Indie grab. Six participants were disqualified since judges only counted those who successfully landed the jump – but 54 successful indies was more than enough to surpass the existing world record for largest trick relay.
We leave you with video footage of Ulrik Badertcher, the first snowboarder to record a 1620 mute grab. Don’t forget – records like these are made to be broken.