Skiboarding @

Todd's Skiboarding Page

Todd Murray - Click here to contact me.

(This picture was taken on the moguls at Keystone Resort in March, 2000.)

It's time to reveal my dirty little secret: I haven't actually been on Sled Dogs snow skates for a couple years now. Instead, I'm now into my third season of skiboarding. There are probably people out there asking, "What the heck is skiboarding?" Some are asking, "What's wrong with Sled Dogs? I thought you liked them." A few naysayers out there are probably saying, "Feh. Why not ride a snowboard instead? Or why not get a pair of real skis instead?" And, there are some enthusiasts who are going to read this and say, "Cool! I want some more information!"

What is skiboarding? What are skiboards?

Skiboards are basically a cross between skis and snowboards. They're about half the length of regular skis (between 80 and 100 centimeters long), and about twice as wide. Most skiboards have a sidecut (like the popular shaped skis), and many have upturned tips both in front and in back. Skiboarding is the art of using skiboards to get down the hill.

That explanation was easy enough, but it doesn't mention why skiboarding is fun or appealing. Like the Sled Dogs I started off on, skiboards are a good winter crossover sport for people who like inline skating in the summer. But they're also good for doing tricks and stunts, and for developing your own style. I like carving across the slopes on them, going for the jumps, and taking them on the halfpipe. They're also great in the moguls -- they're maneuverable without having to physically punish yourself like you would with skis. Some of the pros do really impressive tricks, such as 720's and various flips. (I don't have the aggressive inline skating background, so that sort of thing doesn't come naturally to me, but hey.)

There's an article at Vancouver - West End that discusses more of the history of skiboards and explains why you might want them.

Picture of me taking a jump at Keystone Resort in March, 2000.
Picture taken at Keystone Resort in March, 2000.

Why switch from Sled Dogs?

I used to be into Sled Dogs snow skates big-time, and I helped them out at demo events. However, they had their limitations and problems, which I've written about before. The small base means they bog down in slushy or powdery conditions, while the lack of an upturned tip means you can do a face plant if you put too much weight on your toes. Still, they were a lot of fun, but when I first tried skiboards I realized they could be a lot more versatile than regular skis.

Why not go skiing or snowboarding instead? Why do we need another new winter sport?

There are always some people out there who are very committed to their favorite winter sport and decide to rag on anyone who doesn't do what they do. Usually, they're 17, listen to Korn and Limp Bizkit, and decide to flaunt their individuality by dressing exactly like everyone else.

OK, that's a joke -- don't send me hate mail. But the fact is that there's room for everyone to do their favorite thing. There are always people who like to discount anything new. Several years ago, all the skiers hated snowboarders because they thought snowboards were dangerous and snowboarders were discourteous. People didn't think snowboards would survive. Now, snowboards are very popular and make up nearly half the traffic at some ski areas. Skiboards could do the same thing. Besides, skiboarding is fun. 'Nuff said.

How did you pick out a pair of skiboards?

I heard here and there about skiboarding and how it was the next new thing, and since the Sled Dogs company was in bankruptcy at the time, I decided to try them out. I tried Salomon SnowBlades and Dynastar Twins (and I've reviewed them -- click here), and they performed a lot better than Sled Dogs did in slushy or icy conditions.  I now own a pair of Line Jedi 89's (click here for my review) and a pair of Line Mike Nick Pros.

Picture from Keystone
Another picture from Keystone. The angle of the picture makes it look like I'm on one board, but I'm on two boards.

Who makes skiboards?

Several manufacturers make skiboards, though they may have different names for them. Here's a probably-incomplete list:

  • Line Skiboards -- This brand has gotten rave reviews on the Internet. I own two pair (a pair of Jedi 89's, and now a pair of Mike Nick Pros) and I'm impressed by their design, construction, and performance.
  • Salomon -- Salomon's SnowBlades are probably the most popular skiboards out there, mainly because they have a lot of marketing muscle. (By the way, the difference between "skiboards" and "SnowBlades" is like the difference between "photocopy" and "Xerox": "skiboards" are the generic term, while "SnowBlades" is a trademark.)
  • Dynastar used to make the "Twins" line of skiboards, but I believe they've been discontinued.
  • K2 makes Fatty skiboards.
  • Snowjam skiboards seem to be sold at Wal-Mart, if I remember correctly.

Who sells skiboards?

Here are a few online retailers.

Where can I find more information?

Here are some sites with some good skiboarding information.

I used to have a bunch more links, but they've kind of gotten lost.
Picture of me taking a jump at Lutsen in March, 1999.
Picture taken at Lutsen, March 1999.

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