As the Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov twisted, flipped and spun above the halfpipe at X Games Oslo last week on his way to a silver medal, the bottom of his board — one of the more valuable pieces of advertising real estate in the sport — displayed no corporate logo. Instead, it was adorned with an artistic design he had created for a college class assignment.
The reason for the triumph of art over commerce: Podladtchikov, 27, the 2014 Olympic halfpipe champion, no longer has a board sponsor.
Snowboarding — which scarcely existed 30 years ago and took over ski resorts around the world seemingly overnight, adding 5 million participants in two decades — has tumbled to earth recently. As the sport has been abandoned by participants…