The Weirdest Ways to Slide on Snow: Skiboard

From a skibob to a teleboard, Outside presents a definitive compendium of the snow-sliding tools and toys that will take your breath away. Safety not guaranteed.

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

NAME: Skiboard or snowblade. Since "snowblading" is trademarked by Salomon, the now-defunct World Skiboard Association settled on "skiboarding" because it sounded better than "short, unstable skis."

WHAT IT IS: Skiboards are typically 65cm to 100cm long, though some are longer. Bindings vary from traditional alpine bindings to non-release bindings more commonly seen in alpine snowboarding. There have been reports of telemark bindings mounted on skiboards as well. These are regionally known as Blades of Glory.

FIRST APPEARED: 1940s. Shocked to learn that these sick puppies have been around so long? Originally called "Firn Gliders" or "figls," what started out as tools for serious mountaineering might now just be a hobby for serious tools.

15 MINUTES OF FAME: 1998. The X-Games debuted, showcasing skiboard freestyle, a defining moment for these plucky little boards. Momentum had been building since the early 1990s when Kneissel released the iconic Big Foot skiboard, complete with toes. LINE Skis built the Mick Nick Pro model and the future looked bright—until 2001, when the X-Games replaced skiboarding with regular skiing. Pro-skiboarders everywhere were crushed, then went out and bought twin-tips, learned how to ski, and suffered less ridicule in the parking lot.

WHO RIDES: Latvians/Romanians; locals on Gaper Day. After the loss of the X-Games in 2001, skiboarding went into a deep funk only to gloriously re-emerge in 2007 when the World Skiboard Association staged the 2007 Skiboard World Cup in Romania. Success in Romania was followed by a rousing romp in Dubai, where desert-dwellers were treated to the finest skiboarders in the world throwing down freestyle tricks. It was the last Skiboard World Cup. The World Skiboard Association’s website is dead. It is currently unclear if skiboarding is alive—it’s certainly not well.

RELATION TO SKIING/SNOWBOARDING: Annoying little brother.

GET DIALED:
1. Buy yourself some shorties here. Prices ranges from $125 to $400.
2. For the definitive modern skiboard movie, cue up GNAR: The Movie.

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