Everybody has a story. So we thought we’d share a few of ours. We’re very lucky to work with such a talented team of good people. And often, they also lead interesting lives outside the lanes. This month, get to know a little bit more about our general manager at ADESA East Tennessee, Mark Halseth.

Seeing Mark Halseth busy in the auction lanes, you’d probably never guess that he is also a pioneer in the world of sports. Mark is one of the first professionally paid snowboarders.

An early form of snowboarding, he used a children’s toy—The Snurfer—to ride the slopes in his native Minnesota. The Snurfer began a revolution that would ultimately give rise to a new way to take to the slopes and inspire sports enthusiasts across the globe.

Considered the first marketed snowboard, The Snurfer allowed riders to stand upright and glide over the snow. A strategically placed rope helped to give riders more control of the board; however, Mark never used it.

“I had come from Southern California. I was always on my surfboard. When I went to visit my brother back in Minnesota, we went for a walk and came across this brightly colored object in the snow—I immediately fell in love.”

And the rest was history.

Mark went on to master the snurf board and was eventually asked by Labatt Brewing Company to appear in a commercial for their beer. Both he and his wife, also an accomplished snurfer, were featured in one of the company’s commercials. The commercial is recognized as the first time snowboarding was used in advertising.

He provided many of his boards, articles and various memorabilia to the National Museum of Snowboarding History in Vail, Colo. He hopes to travel there with his wife and daughter soon to see the display—one of which is dedicated specifically to him.

Not only has he been prominently featured at the museum, he was also recognized in the credits of the movie, We Ride: The Story of Snowboarding, a compelling look into the unique history of snowboarding and the cultural forces that shaped it.

These days, he spends his time educating the public about the history of snowboarding and the children’s toy that helped make him a legend in the industry. If you ever have the chance to meet Mark, ask him about his experience as a front-runner in the sport of snowboarding. See his Labatt commercial and more videos below. 

Halseth's Snurfer board collection

Halseth getting some air on The Snurfer