How To Choose The Right Skiboards

From our personal experience, as well as hearing the experieces of 1000's upon 1000's of customers over the last 17 years, one thing is clear - all skiboards are fun! You could consider this the quick selection method - find a pair of skiboards that look good to you, fit within your budget, buy them and go hit the slopes. You won't regret it. Just remember - these are not skis, so don't try to ski them. Your natural stand-up stance will guide you as your body will figure it out pretty quickly. Then, just enjoy the new found freedom of a new snowriding tool you have to play with.

Why are skiboards different? Imagine turning when you want! Just think about stopping and you are stopped! Have places on the mountain that elicit fear? Not any more. Once you feel the confidence that skiboards inspire, you will have to rethink what "Intermediate" or "Advanced" or even "Expert" terrain means. Steeper terrain, combined with long skis or snowboards that don't turn that quickly, makes for a challenging combination. Now, rather than having to think how to get down the mountain, you can just have fun - hey, maybe even notice the scenery for a change. Even better, if you have friends or family that may be more experienced skiers or snowboarders, now you can go hang out with them on the same terrain. I won't go on here but you can read more in the Skiboards University.

How to Choose the Right Skiboards For You

Our company, the Skiboards Superstore, has always spent a huge amount of time researching prospective skiboard products. We ride them, hear from customers who ride them, and work with the manufacturers, so we can continually communicate the performance characteristics of our products. We know how they perform in all different conditions and terrain. It's with this background that we offer the following information to help you select the right skiboards.

Since there is a wide variety of skiboards based on size, price range, brand, construction and overall performance, it can seem overwhelming at first when shopping for skiboards. The following information can help you narrow it down.

The following categories can help you narrow down your choices. Each is followed by recommended skiboards.

A. Ability level

1. New to the sport of snow riding or beginner skier:

Summit Easy Rider 79 cm; Summit Headwall 95 cm; Head Rod 94; Snowjam (75 cm and 90 cm); Snowjam Five-Forty 99cm; Matrix 75 cm, 89 cm or 99 cm; Elan Freeline 99 cm

2. Intermediate skier or snowboarder converting:

Summit jade 87; Summit Nomad LE, SE or Bamboo 99; summit custom 110SC; head Rod 94; Summit Headwall 95; elan 99 or 125cm; Atomic 125; 

3. Advanced skier/snowboarder or have ridden skiboards and looking to upgrade:

Summit Jade 87cm; Summit Nomad LE, SE or Bamboo 99; Carbon Pro 99; Summit Custom 110 or Carbon Pro 110; Summit Rocker 118; Summit Marauder 125; Atomic 125; Elan 125/135cm

4. I am a skater and want to transfer my skills to the slopes:

Summit Jade 87 or Headwall 95: Matrix 75, 89 or 99cm; Elan Freeline 99; Snowjam 75 or 90cm; Snowjam 99cm

B. Preferred Bindings

1. Ski release bindings (step in with brakes) - used with ski boots:

Summit: Easy Rider, Jade 87, Headwall 95, Nomad 99 or Carbon Pro 99; Custom 110 or Carbon Pro 110; Rocker 118; Marauder 125; Snowjam 90 and 99; Elan 99, 125 and 135; Atomic 125; Hagan 133

2. Snowboard bindings - used with snowboard boots:

Snowjam 75 and 90; Summit Jade 87, Nomad 99 or Carbon Pro 99; Custom 110 or Carbon Pro 110; Groove 82

3. Skiboard non-release bindings - used with ski boots:

Snowjam 75 and 90; Matrix 75, 89 and 99

C. Terrain/Conditions

1. Mostly terrain parks:
Snowjam 75 and 90; Summit Jade 87, Nomad 99, Carbon Pro 99; Summit Custom 110 and Carbon Pro 110; Summit Rocker 118; Summit Marauder 125

2. Mostly groomed (hardpack/ice included):

Snowjam 99; Elan Freeline 99; Summit Headwall 95; Summit Easy Rider 79; Summit Custom 110; Summit Nomad 99; Head 94; Matrix 75, 89 or 99

3. Mostly glades or off trail and untracked:

Summit Jade 87, Summit Nomad 99 or Carbon Pro 99; Summit Custom 110 or Carbon Pro 110; Summit Rocker 118; Summit Marauder 125

4. All conditions/all mountain:

Summit Rocker 118; Summit Custom 110 or Carbon Pro 110; Summit Nomad 99 or Carbon Pro 99; Summit Marauder 125

5. Backcountry (AT bindings/skins):

Summit Custom 110 or Carbon Pro 110; Summit Rocker 118; Summit Marauder 125; Hagan Off Limits 133

6. Ski Dancing (yes with partners!): 

Matrix 75; Snowjam 75; Summit Easy Rider 79; Summit Jade 87

Other criteria:

Height and Weight

Most skiboards are intended for those 59 inches and above in height and variety of weight ranges. Skiboards, not being like skis, don't require certain sizes for a particular height and weight. What a relief that is!

Note: We do carry skiboards for those under 59 inches in height. You can find these in our "Skiboarding for Kids" department. 

Performance

Shorter skiboards are more maneuverable, easier to learn on, great in moguls, glades and have the feel of inline skates. However, they may not handle those long, deep, lay-it-over carves at speed and don't have the surface area for smoother landings in the parks. Shorter (but wider) shorter skiboards ride great in powder, but not quite as well as the longer, wider ones (like the 99 cm).

Longer skiboards offer more speed and allow for the deeper, shoulder-to-the-ground carves. Big air addicts usually go with longer boards because of the extra speed and surface area for landing tricks. If you like tricks (on the ground and in the air), a symmetrical twin-tip design is also recommended.

Of course, construction of the skiboards also contributes to performance. Higher quality construction, such as laminated wood cores, triaxial fiberglass layers, rubber dampening, even aluminum reinforcement plates for greater retention of release bindings, yields higher performance and dependability. Sintered bases are faster and hold wax better, though extruded bases (a little less expensive) are quite durable and fast, but don’t hold wax as well. It's mostly true though that you get what you pay for.

Backcountry: Skiboards are great in the backcountry (off trail). They pack light and you can either boot pack (climb in your boots) or snowshoe up the hill with ski boots in the bindings. You can also mount them with AT (all terrain) Bindings, such as the Atomic N Tracker 13 Freeride bindings and then add skins for climbing.

In addition, for climbing with AT bindings, you’ll want to add climbing skins to your skiboards that are easy to put on and off. These allow you to glide forward without slipping backwards. This way you can just glide uphill on your skiboards, take the skins off at the top, tighten down your bindings and down you go. No lift tickets!

Conclusion

Ultimately, any skiboards are fun. It usually just comes down to personal taste in graphics, design and of course, price. Make sure to check out the reviews on specific skiboards posted on our website or talk with one of our experienced skiboarders to discuss your options.

Rental By Mail program: if you want to try before you buy, you can rent by mail. Check out our rental program.

Will these replace skis in your life?

Maybe, maybe not. Skiboards will however, open up all new possibilities on the mountain. These are not skis and they are not snowboards. They are not just "short skis" either. Skiboards or sometimes spelled "ski boards" (not really the official spelling), are way, way easier than snowboards or skis to learn. Most everyone is up and riding on skiboards in a few runs on their first day and from then on, the fun really begins. The experience of riding skiboards is so different than skiing, even though they look like short skis.

For more specific recommendations, always feel free to call us at 800-784-0540 or email us at: info@skiboards.com. We are always happy to help.

Doc Roberts, President, Skiboards.com.