Perhaps the only thing more humbling than the first snowboard wipeout of the season is bailing off your Bongo Board and crashing into the coffee table. At least there's no chairlift full of jeering spectators. Popularized in the 1960s as a constructive
way for surfers to wait out mushy conditions, the Bongo Board ($85 from Fitter International, 800-348-8371) has been updated to mimic snowboarding.
The Bongo's mojo (and patent) resides in its fulcrum, a unique barrel-shaped roller made of two halves that can twist independently, making the deck terribly unstable. Instead of only being able to teeter-totter, the sloped ends of the barrel also encourage using toe and heel pressure, just as you would on the hill. What this means is that if you press
your toes against the edge and shift your weight just so, you'll suddenly find yourself facing the opposite direction, having done an in-house fakey
It takes some getting used to, so you might start out Bongoing on "slower" surfaces (carpet versus hardwood) and holding on to the wall for balance. We hear that professional snowboarders can jump and spin their Bongo Boards as if they were riding the halfpipe. You, however, should settle for holding yourself upright without the assistance of a spotter.