By Rachel Axon, USA Today
In 1995, the addition of snowboarding to the Olympics wouldn’t have foretold the mainstay the sport would become at the Games. Known for being counterculture, the sport was banned at many ski resorts. The X Games were a little more than a year away from holding its first winter edition.
Less than a decade after Time had called snowboarding the “worst new sport,” the International Olympic Committee sought it and the youthful audience it promised.
Since its introduction at the Nagano Olympics in 1998, the soulful sport has boomed. Participation has skyrocketed. Resorts now cater to snowboarders. And in the Games, the sport’s success paved the way for freeskiing and delivered on the coolness the Olympics lacked with a younger generation.