The Snow Report
Thousands of years ago, early humans strapped large wooden planks to their feet in order to move around their snowy hunting ranges. For them, skiing was a matter of survival. Fast forward to modern times when skiing is more a matter of getting rad and shredding the gnar than surviving another bitter winter.
Skis have undergone many changes over the course of their development. Most of these changes have been for the better—all-wood skis eventually gave way to highly engineered combinations of metal, plastics, foam, and carbon fiber. Nine- to 12-foot boards shrank down to today’s more manageable sub-six-footers.
But not all the steps in the evolution of the ski were in the right direction. Along the way there were a few ski-mutants. Two recessive genes here, a receptive niche there, and an oddity that might not have otherwise survived took off and flourished.
We’ve gone out and found a few of the stranger devices. Some of them are nearly extinct, like snow-skates, while others flourish in small pockets of the ski world like the resilient monoski. Will any of these devices eventually go the way of the Dodo? Judge for yourself.