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Skiboards: Bored? Skiboard!

Skiboards: Bored? Skiboard!

Gear
posted: 03/05/2001

Skiboarding has been one of the faster growing winter sports since the late Ninties. The tiny skis (by definition, skiboards are under 100 cm) are easy to use¿sort of like in-line skating on snow. And, the one-size-fits-all bindings can accommodate the foot sizes an entire condo of family and friends.

Even though they've been around since the late Eighties, when Austrian ski manufacturer Kneissl introduced the Big Foot, the sport didn't really catch on until Salomon introduced its popular Snowblade in the late Nineties. It was just the thing kids who didn't snowboard were looking for as a way to get into snowboard parks and do tricks. The sport blossomed as snowboarders, in-line skaters, surfboarders and skateboarders discovered how easy, versatile and acrobatic skiboarding is.

"Almost anyone can become a reasonably accomplished skiboarder without a lot of effort," says Scott Russo, marketing director for Blizzard skiboards.

"It's naturally fun," says Jason Levinthal, president of Line Skiboards, "without years of training or lessons."

Although skiboards are most popular with kids who want a park-and-pipe tool, the sport continues to evolve. Some ski schools use skiboards as learning tools to introduce beginners to skiing. Expert skiers use them to refine their carving skills. In-line skaters are getting out on the snow with virtually no learning curve.

Mostly, though, kids are using skiboards to do tricks, many of them resembling aggressive in-line skating tricks like bouncing off picnic tables, sliding on rails and taking off backwards for aerial tricks. Resorts, in response, are providing more obstacles, such picnic tables and other wooden structures, often in clear view of a chairlift, taking center stage away from the halfpipe.

Salomon and Line are the biggest brands, but many of the ski brands you know and love (K2, Fischer, Blizzard, Elan) make skiboards, as do a few smaller companies (Line, Journey, Groove). Some sell directly online.

Most skiboards come with non-releasable plate bindings that are fairly easy to adjust. Although releasable bindings are not required for skis under 100 cm, some manufacturers are working on the possibility of such bindings for the future.

Below you'll find a guide to the newest skiboards on the market as well as old favorites.

Atomic
Atomic uses its Beta technology for its new Free Zone 99 skiboard ($250, with bindings). The triple Beta profile (with three humps across the top) is designed for extra stability, which is welcome on such a short ski, and more power to the edges, also nice for setting an edge. With dimensions of 101-75-91, the Free Zone 99 is primarily aimed for park-and-pipe use. Info: www.atomicski.com

Blizzard
This Austrian ski manufacturer has two skiboards¿one for adults and one for kids. The 99.9 cm Carvelino B (dimensions: 108-88-100) has an integrated air-cell fiberglass wrap cap construction. The board also comes with a soft urethane tip protector. It sells for $199, with a non-releaseable, easy-to-adjust binding. For kids, the 65-cm Carvelino J (dimensions: 110-88-95) has the same construction but no tip protector. It's $149 with binding.
Info: www.blizzard-ski.com

Elan
Elan offers the 99-cm Dualie Integra (dimensions: 101-85-92), a wood-core twin-tip. As part of Elan's No Rules Tools series, the skiboard is designed for big air, fakey landings and fast spins. The Roller (dimensions, 101-85-92) is a similar model in a 93-cm length. Retail prices are $380 and $280, with bindings.
Info: www.elanski.com

Fischer
Austrian ski manufacturer Fischer offers three models. The top-of-the-line 99-cm Web XXL (dimensions: 130-110-130) is designed for landing big airs, tricks, and general pipe-and-park use. It features Fischer's Power Core construction with a predominately wood core. Retail price is $279 with bindings. The 99-cm Web XL (dimensions: 111-84-100) is also park board, with a similar construction. Retail price is $289 with bindings. The 90-cm Web (dimensions, 105-80-95) is designed for cruising and groomed terrain. Retail price is $249 with bindings.
Info: www.fischerskis.com

Groove USA
This California-based manufacturer/retailer was one of the first independent skiboard makers. Groove uses a full-perimeter cap construction with full-length laminated wood cores with tridirectional fiberglass and stainless steel edges. The top-end 99-cm Brinton Pro-Model ($269) is the same skiboard that took Brinton Gunderson to the last World Championship. It comes with Grooves X1 binding. The 90-cm Hot Rod ($229) is a high-performance skiboard with the X1 binding. It's designed for pipe-and-park use. The Skywalker HP is the same board with a different graphic. The 82-cm Taxi ($199; with bindings) is an all-terrain design, suitable for carving and cruising the entire mountain. The Retro is the same board with a different graphic. The 75-cm Airforce1 ($169; with bindings) is for smaller people or beginners.
Info: www.grooveusa.com

Head
The new 94-cm Headliner (dimensions: 129-90-114) comes with a releasable Head rental binding that can be adjusted without being remounted. It has a DIN range that will accommodate most people. This is the only skiboard sold with a regular alpine ski binding. "I think a lot of people are more comfortable with the fact that it does release," says Head product manager Greg Bowen, who added that the binding must be adjusted by a dealer or rental operator. The twin-tip Headliner is an all-around skiboard, with a turning radius suitable for carving and cruising, but still wide enough underfoot for freestyle tricks and fun in the park and pipe. Suggested retail price is $325, with bindings.

Journey
Journey is a small Colorado company, owned by two young brothers. New for winter 2001-02 is the 99-cm C.F. Torch ($290). It features an angled "dura-surf" sidewall construction, said to offer the feel of a cap construction with the durability of a laminate design. There are aluminum tip and tail protectors to eliminate any chance of delamination. The base is a black graphite race P-tex with no graphic to affect feel or performance. Also available is the Torch Pro ($259), with a hemp/nylon topsheet for ultimate strength and lightness. The board features a smooth flex pattern for turns, tricks, and landings. The Bomber Elite bindings ($160) are sold separately.
Info: www.journeyskiboards.com

K2
K2 has reduced its selection of skiboards to one model, the popular 88-cm Fatty ($250, with bindings), which has new graphics for 2001-02. It has a wood-core torsion-box construction with tri-directional fiberglass laminates that resist twisting. The dimensions: 111-85-99.
Info: www.k2skis.com

Kneissl
Makers of the original skiboard (Big Foot), Kneissl introduces a new skiboard, the 99-cm Gravity X (dimensions, 110-85-100). It features Kneissl's Power X-Wave technology, which has an additional layer of foam/carbon and glass under the entire length of the skiboard. This results in more torsion and a smoother ride. The Gravity X ($315) also uses a new high-performance plate under the binding. "This product is designed for the accomplished skiboarder who wants a superbly controlled ride on groomed slopes," says Scott Mellin, CEO of Kneissl USA.
Info: www.kdr-usa.com

Line
What started in president Jason Levinthal's garage five years ago has become the second largest player (behind Salomon). Line has five models. The most popular is the 98-cm Mike Nick Pro ($220, without bindings; dimensions: 119-100-119). It's a wood-core cap construction and is designed to ride backward as easily as forward. Its width allows it to float easily on softer snow and land smoothly on jumps. The 90-cm Five-O (dimensions: 119-104-119) and the 84-cm Fly (dimensions: 114-100-114) are both designed for freeriding in both the park and on groomed runs. ($200 and $180, respectively, without bindings.) The 94-cm Weapon (dimensions, 116-100-116) is designed strictly for park use and sells for $220, without bindings. It has a special plastic notch underfoot to facilitate rail grinds without ruining the edge. The 95-cm Bullet (dimensions, 113-95-113) is an all-mountain directional twin tip, ideal for carving and cruising anywhere. Line sells two bindings separately. The Cam ($130) is an all-aluminum, tool-free-adjustment binding. The Pro ($160) is a heavier duty all-aluminum binding with more micro-adjustments; it comes with an Allen wrench.
Info: www.lineski.com

Nordica
Nordica offers a new model called the FunDrive TT ($299, with bindings) in either a 90-cm or a 100-cm length.
Info: www.nordica.com

Salomon
Salomon popularized the sport of skiboarding with its Snowblade, now available in six models. For winter 2001-02, Salomon debuts a new binding called the Spinner on its SB Ten and Buzz 99 models. The Spinner utilizes a central turning ball that is designed to move the toe- and heel-pieces simultaneously, in order to keep any size boot centered for maximum performance. In skiboards, the new SB Ten (dimensions: 129-108-123) has a base fitted with a durable middle section for rail and stump grinds ($395 with new Spinner binding). The SB Pro ($475; dimensions: 129-108-123), designed for high-speed riding, features a wide platform for landing big airs easier. It comes with a new super-strong aluminum binding. The Buzz 99.9 ($295; dimensions: 105-80-100), with the new Spinner binding, and the Buzz 90 ($245; dimensions: 101-80-91) both return with new graphics. Finally, for kids under five feet tall, the 61-cm Grom ($185; dimensions: 82-74-94) returns with new graphics.
Info: www.salomon-sports.com both designed for freeriding in both the park and on groomed runs. ($200 and $180, respectively, without bindings.) The 94-cm Weapon (dimensions, 116-100-116) is designed strictly for park use and sells for $220, without bindings. It has a special plastic notch underfoot to facilitate rail grinds without ruining the edge. The 95-cm Bullet (dimensions, 113-95-113) is an all-mountain directional twin tip, ideal for carving and cruising anywhere. Line sells two bindings separately. The Cam ($130) is an all-aluminum, tool-free-adjustment binding. The Pro ($160) is a heavier duty all-aluminum binding with more micro-adjustments; it comes with an Allen wrench.
Info: www.lineski.com

Nordica
Nordica offers a new model called the FunDrive TT ($299, with bindings) in either a 90-cm or a 100-cm length.
Info: www.nordica.com

Salomon
Salomon popularized the sport of skiboarding with its Snowblade, now available in six models. For winter 2001-02, Salomon debuts a new binding called the Spinner on its SB Ten and Buzz 99 models. The Spinner utilizes a central turning ball that is designed to move the toe- and heel-pieces simultaneously, in order to keep any size boot centered for maximum performance. In skiboards, the new SB Ten (dimensions: 129-108-123) has a base fitted with a durable middle section for rail and stump grinds ($395 with new Spinner binding). The SB Pro ($475; dimensions: 129-108-123), designed for high-speed riding, features a wide platform for landing big airs easier. It comes with a new super-strong aluminum binding. The Buzz 99.9 ($295; dimensions: 105-80-100), with the new Spinner binding, and the Buzz 90 ($245; dimensions: 101-80-91) both return with new graphics. Finally, for kids under five feet tall, the 61-cm Grom ($185; dimensions: 82-74-94) returns with new graphics.
Info: www.salomon-sports.com

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