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Is Cloquet the birthplace of the snowboard?


January 7, 2022

One of the snowboards Cloquet native Vern Wicklund designed in 1939 is now in a museum in Colorado.

Reader Kim Matteen spotted a reference to Cloquet in the latest issue of Smithsonian Magazine. In its Prologue section, under the heading of "Origins," Max Ufberg writes about the rise of snowboarding from a "goofy" pastime to an Olympics sport.

Vern Wicklund, as the story goes, was messing around with modified sleds when he was a teenager in Cloquet, as early as 1917. In 1939, he and relatives Harvey and Gunnar Burgeson, all now living in the Chicago area, patented what is generally considered the first snowboard.

It's not without some controversy. Most boards in the early days were modifi...

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