Esther Ebner

Snowboarding saved skiing: Peter Radacher explains.

One man, one great passion. Peter (aka Pez) Radacher is the founder of the snowboard museum in the Hochkönig region. In 2002/2003 he started this project out of a great personal passion, which is snowboarding.

He comes from a very skiing-loving family. His great-grandfather had the first ski school in the Salzburg region: as early as 1923! The grandfather took part at the winter Olympics in Oslo in 1952.

He was in a sports school and was on the behalf of it on the road in Scandinavia. At the Holmenkollen Ski Museum, he was blown away by the way ski history was shown on a timeline. There were also about ten snowboards displayed which led him to create a snowboard museum at home as well.

And so he started collecting snowboards from fellow racers and snowboarders. 40 snowboards quickly came together and he first started online with the snowboard museum. By the time he was studying sports science, he had focused on snowboard history and his student apartment was full of other snowboards he had collected. He lives what he loves.

After his studies he went back home to work at Hochkeilhaus and transformed the old garage with the boards he had collected into a museum. After accumulating a large number of boards, he began to filter out the interesting boards and prepare them. These were snowboards that represented the technical advances well or were owned by an important person in the area.

His treasures come from Japan, the USA, Canada and different parts of Europe. He now counts 1100 boards from all over the world.

There are also snowboards hanging all over his Youth Hostel, which is an extension of the Snowboard Museum. Peter's goal is for guests to be able to fully immerse themselves in this snowboarding time machine. The groups of students who are staying at the Youth Hostel are passionately told this story by him. The knowledge about the tradition and development gives the sport a higher value for the students.

His wish would be for this story to find its place in an urban environment, so that the reference – i.e. the development and history – can be communicated to a broader audience. What fascinates him the most are the different shapes, the weight of the boards, the materials and the whole development.

He started his book project "Boards – A Brief History of the Snowboard" in 2012 and this book has been available for purchase since 2020. The book has been shipped as far as the US and Canada and a new edition is currently being planned.

So how did snowboarding save skiing?

The skis were always the same from the 1920s to the mid-1990s: narrow and thin. Materials and fittings have evolved, but the shape was 1:1 the same. As the snowboard industry boomed in the '90s, the ski industry had to develop as well. That's why Reinhard Fischer cut the first prototypes of today's carving skis out of a snowboard, and Georg Ehrschwendner developed a powder ski out of an Atomic snowboard.

Twin tips and freestyle skis also have their roots in snowboards. Added to this was the boom in snowboard parks. When Salomon got into snowboarding in 1997, the freestyle hype spread to skis as well.

Of course, the ski industry has also done a lot for snowboards in reverse: ski areas, infrastructure, technologies, edges, bases, wood-sandwich-constructions, etc. were already prepared as a result. Both sports have developed, pushed and advanced each other.

You can see, history is not boring. It is the source of everything that is now taken for granted.

Esther Ebner

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