Made In Michigan
1:46 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Snowboarding had its beginning in a Muskegon, Michigan garage

The Sochi Winter Olympics are just days away.

One of the most popular competitions is undoubtedly snowboarding, which joined the pantheon of Olympic winter sports in 1998. 

But there might have been no Shaun White, the "Flying Tomato," grabbing Olympic gold for the U.S. without a man from Muskegon looking to give his little girls a reason to play outside in the snow.

The snowboard is another "Made In Michigan" story.

Listen to Sherman Poppen explain how the snowboard started.

"I took these two small skis and put them side by side and put a brace across them to hold them together, and something to put your foot against," said Sherm Poppen.

Poppen was the dad who got creative in his Muskegon garage some 48 years ago. "We literally started sliding down a hill standing up."

His wife named the new toy "snurfer" by combining the words "snow" and "surf."

Fourteen years later, Jake Burton Carpenter came to a contest in Michigan and saw the snurfers. He then went back to Vermont to make his own "snurfboards." 

"I wrote him saying the word 'snurf' and any derivative thereof belongs to Sherman Poppen and if you want to keep making these things you're going to have to pay him a royalty," Poppen said.

"That was probably one of the dumbest things I ever did, because he stopped making 'snurfboards' and started making 'snowboards.'"

Here's a longer interview with Poppen:

We want to hear from you. What surprising things do you know of that were invented or made in Michigan? We want to feature them as part of our "Made in Michigan" series.