Let’s face it, not everyone finds skiing to be fun, especially when starting out. Consider the lessons, awkward moments on the hill, the occasional crossing of the tips, and of course, lugging all that equipment to and from. Skiing, like snowboarding, have relatively long learning curves, especially if you want to have fun riding most of the terrain the ski resort has to offer.
Welcome to the world of pure play on the ski slopes. Short skis, (formally called skiboards) comprise the category of 150cm down to about 65cm in length. Traditionally, this category was for junior skis but these are NOT junior skis. These truly bring a smile to your face and feels like being a kid again. Your fears subside because you are more in control, able to progress very quickly with the shortest learning curve on the slopes.
These short skis, or skiboards took the slopes almost a decade ago, and have been growing in numbers ever since. This is not a mainstream sport however. It is truly under the radar in terms of media coverage. Many learn about the sport on the internet or seeing someone on the slopes.The rider stands up comfortably (rather than leaning forward) and it feels like crossover snowriding tool for adults, families, from young to more mature. These relatively new short skis feel more like skating and are very easy to maneuver.
In contrast, the new Skiboards (referred to also as snowblades, ski boards, miniskis, short skis or skiblades) about half the length of skis and almost twice as wide, boast the fastest learning curve on the slopes. Much easier to control, turn or stop on, requiring a more natural stance than skis or snowboards, most people begin enjoying skiboards in less than one day. It is just so much easier to enjoy the mountain on skiboards.
Quickly learning to ride on snow is just one of the reasons more and more ski schools are introducing beginners to skiboards. “Far from a fad, the skiboard is an innovation that promises to change the whole mountain landscape. More and more ski schools are incorporating them into lessons, or even teaching skiboarding as a discipline unto itself.” (“Short and Sweet”, Allen St. John, The Professional Skier) As another instructor reported, he started an athletic never-ever on skiboards and by the end of the day, had him linking turns on solid intermediate terrain.
It is simply easier for ski instructors to teach people using skiboards. One such ski school, located in Aspen, Colorado is the very popular Bumps for Boomers program. Using skiboards, individuals are trained in a much shorter amount of time than longer skis to easily ride moguls and deep powder. Their program is very popular and books up early. The participants regularly remark on how fast they have improved their ski skills.
Think how good it is for ski resorts. Skiboards make it fun and easy to ride the slopes, and as a result, customers tend to come back more and more often. Having had so much fun, they tell their friends and family about it and bring even more people to the mountain. Skiboards, being a true ski alternative, definitely increase the enthusiasm for returning to the slopes. Most new skiboarders report that they never purchased season passes until they began Skiboarding.
Intermediate skiers usually find they can very quickly get out of the “intermediate rut”. They easily begin to explore more advanced terrain with a greater confidence and much less fear. What is remarkable is that this often occurs within just one day on skiboards. Imagine jumping up a level in just one day!
And wow, do these bring an immediate smile to your face. Designed for all age riders from beginning to expert, skiboards range in size from about 65cm to just under 150cm. It just takes one day to awaken to the possibilities for fun that these provide. Having fun on the slopes is generally the priority of most snow riders. Simply put, Skiboards deliver the goods much faster than skis or snowboards.
Skiboards come in a variety of lengths and shapes to accommodate all types of adventurers. Prices range from $99 up to $450 for the higher end models. Skiboards can be purchased with traditional release as well as non-release bindings. What’s nice is that all that is needed are regular ski boots, your skiboards and the desire to play and have a fun day on the slopes. Poles aren’t really necessary either.
By Doc Roberts, PhD.