Skiboards On Aspen, Colorado
By Mike Doyle
An instructor in the Bumps For Boomers (BFB) clinic at Aspen, CO arranges the little skis, called skiboards, that I, and eleven other intrepid souls, skied on for the first 2 days of the Bumps For Boomers clinic I recently attended.
My first thought on seeing these 95 cm long, or more precisely - very short skis - was that I'm pretty sure some NBA players would have ski boots longer than these skis. It's easy to imagine playing around on these skis in the backyard or on the community sledding hill, but as we were soon to learn these are not little kid's toys. In fact, as Joe Nevin, Founder and BFB Coach explained to us, these skis are commercial adult skiboards made by the very reputable ski company and we were about to ski them on Aspen Mountain - a world-class mountain that lists on the trail map the extent of "Easiest Terrain" as "None."
As part of the Bumps For Boomers clinic the skiboards are a training tool to eliminate bad skiing habits and to instill new contemporary skiing techniques for controlled mogul and powder skiing. Once you get used to skiing on the short skis you can accelerate learning because a lot of terrain anxiety is eliminated while you assimilate the new skills that will be carried over to regular length skis on days 3 and 4 of the clinic. Bolstered by the fact that this is the sixth season of Bumps For Boomers clinics I put my trust in Joe and his coaches and, lo and behold, after a couple of "dialing in" on groomed runs the skiing on skiboards became fun - until instructor Al skied us to the edge of the first abyss. Actually, it was a very mild blue run with soft pillowy bumps in which I quickly tested the downiness of the pillows.
Simply put, correct balance is the key to skiboards - too far back you fall over too far forward you fall over - there is not much under your feet for forgiveness. In Bumps For Boomers, the instructors help you find the "sweet spot" of balance on the skiboards and once there - and you do get there quickly - you move on to learn the tecniques of safe, efficient, and enjoyable mogul skiing with an added bonus - the skiboards are great powder trainers as well.
Yes, I did say "enjoyable mogul skiing" because I don't care how old you are, once you learn balance, speed control, and how to pick your right line in the moguls you will have fun and go looking for bump runs to ski. I mean that because my classmates and myself didn't want to quit, and we were like a bunch of kids making a Black Diamond mogul run at Aspen Mountain our playground - well, sort of like kids just that our mogul lines were less Zipper Line and more button down. But, remember we were skiing this Black Diamond on skiboards!
What happened on Bumps For Boomer - Day 3 - when we transitioned back to normal size skis in the same bumped up, gnarly and steep Black and Double Balck runs at Aspen Mountain? that's a story for another day - maybe tomorrow. Today, I'm back home in New York and I'm going skiing - looking for moguls.