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Snowboard innovator Tom Sims dead at 61

Both skiers and riders — pretty much anyone who likes to play in the snow — mourned the passing of snowboarding pioneer Tom Sims Thursday.

Sims reportedly died of a heart attack at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Sims is credited with the development and invention of the first snowboard in 1963 when, at just 13, he built a “skiboard” in his seventh grade shop class. He was the first to develop the first metal edges, high-back binding systems, and the first women’s specific snowboard – all of which revolutionized the sport and raised athletic possibilities.

He then built those possibilities into some of the first freestyle and halfpipe competitions which paved the way for the inclusion of snowboarding into the 1998 Olympic Winter Games. Leading the charge for supporting young athletes, Sims sponsored legendary snowboarder Craig Kelly and other revolutionary athletes to  boost mainstream popularity of the sport.

Sims is survived by his wife Hilary, sister Margie Sims Klinger of Santa Barbara, sons Tommy and Shane, daughter Sarah and stepdaughters Alexa and Kylie Wagner. -GM

Rotator photo: Bud Fawcett

Geoff Mintz

Associate Editor

Geoff Mintz is a former alpine ski racer who cut his teeth at Ragged Mountain and Waterville Valley, N.H. After graduating from Holderness and UVM, he relocated to Colorado, where he worked as an instructor at Beaver Creek prior to pursuing a career in journalism. He currently lives in the woods above Vail with his wife, Colleen.

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