When the Winter Olympics are held on the snowy slopes of Utah in 2002, snowboarding competition will be included for the first time.

One manager of a major resort that admits snowboarders says many skiers complain about the attitude of snowboarders, accusing them of a disregard for the etiquette of skiing, being reckless on the mountain, cutting lift lines, and foul language.

At Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire, a spokesman says he feels problems with snowboarders are “overstated,” because “they wear baggy clothing, have their own slang, and come across as being different.”

Both to woo snowboarders and to give them an area on the mountain away from the general ski runs many areas have created special parks with man-made artifices specifically for snowboarders. The obstacles have such names as tabletops, spines, rail slides, and the increasingly familiar halfpipes - rounded trenches from 400 to 700 feet long in which skilled boarders swoop from side to side, flipping in aerial turns, awing spectators, and having one helluva great time.

And, quite naturally, there are snowboard schools for everyone from the never-evers eager to learn to experts who want to improve their jumps, spins, and flips.

Just how popular is snowboarding on the snowy slopes? The National Sporting Goods Association estimates that there were 2.1 million snow - boarders in 1994-95 - compared with 1.5 million a year earlier - and forecasts 2.3 million for the 1995-96 season.

Ski Industries of America estimates that 187,000 snowboards were sold in the United States in 1994, up 8 percent from the previous year.

While the number of snowboarders, especially in the under-21 set, has soared in the past few years, at the same time total daily attendance at ski resorts has edged up only slightly, suggesting that snowboarders are not ski enthusiasts trying out new equipment but younger skiers who’ve opted for the single board rather than a pair of sticks.

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