British Columbia·FROM THE ARCHIVES

Snowboarders vs. skiers, circa 1985

In light of ski slopes opening across B.C. this weekend, CBC News is bringing you this look at the early days of what was once called "ski surfing."

As ski season approaches, CBC News takes a look at the origin of the battle of the slopes

Snowboarders vs. skiers, circa 1985

5 years ago
Duration 3:11
A look back at when 'ski surfing' first hit the slopes in B.C. 3:11

The year was 1985, and a new menace to society had made its way to ski slopes across B.C.: snowboards.

In light of mountain resorts opening across B.C. this weekend, CBC News is bringing you this look at the early days of what was once called "ski surfing." 

When snowboards first made their way north from the wilds of California, many people didn't seem to know what to make of the new trend. 

Perhaps it was the California connection that led many to link snowboards to surfing — a view exemplified by the James Bond film A View to Kill, which came out that same year.

Despite the confusion over what snowboards were, one aspect many could agree on at the time was that they were clearly a nuisance on the hill.

Ski resorts argued that unruly snowboarders put skiers at risk by whipping between them.

This opinion is possibly still shared by some today, but at the time it was supported enough by ski resorts that many banned them from their slopes.

But snowboarders would not be thwarted in their search for wicked powder.

Instead, they climbed the backcountry to ride out of bounds — a strategy that left some search and rescue groups to call for snowboarders to cover their own rescue costs. 

Watch the video above to see how the battle of the slopes all began. 


Maryse Zeidler


Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at


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