Skiboards.com plans for new sport to 'grow huge'
By Chris Parkes, The Boulder County Business Report
Boulder - Colorado and snow sports go hand in hand. Vacationers from around the world venture to our snowy peaks to ski, snowboard, snowshoe and sled.
For both the local mountain adventurer and the out-of-town thrill-seeker, the choice of snow riding had broadened once again.
Skiboarding, the sport that combines the feel of skiing and the technology of snowboarding, is quickly carving its way onto the slopes as the newest and easiest of all snow sports.
Sound like a passing fad? One that will melt away with the spring thaw? Boulder-based Web company Skiboards.com thinks differently, and so do many resorts who hosted the United Skiboard Series (USS) - a competition featuring skiboarding's finest riders and amateur hopefuls.
"It's more natural, like walking on powder," Skiboards.com Director Doc Roberts said. "In one day a person can go from riding easy trails to expert runs."
Skiboards.com, the nation's largest skiboard retailer, is 13-years-old and growing along with skiing's multimillion-dollar-a-year industry.
"We carry pretty much everything out there, and we're still adding more," Roberts said. "We have 16 manufactures that we buy from and also carry all skiboarding accessories like helmets and backpacks."
The Internet gives them access to all winter sport markets around the globe, while new technology and better designs are gaining popularity with consumers.
Skiboards resemble two mini snowboards attached to each foot of the rider. A pair of skiboards, bindings and boots costs less than ski and snowboard equipment, ranging from $99 to $400 for the complete package, which also attracts customers, Roberts said.
More speed with fewer injuries, greater mobility and ease make skiboarding a threat to the skiing and snowboarding industries, Roberts said. "We have the potential to make a serious dent in the ski and snowboard markets." Not only can riders entertain the masses with high-altitude tricks and suicidal speeds, but also business entices an excited, affluent crowd with a hot new product.
Business is cooking for Skiboards.com, and so are tempers on the slope. The new sport is snubbed by skiers as "too easy," further complicating relationships at America's ski resorts. Skiers get jealous at the rate skiboarders progress in skill, Roberts said. A novice skiboarder can ride tough hills that took a snowboarder year to master, he added.
"Quick and easy - it's the American way," Boulder snowboarder Jesse Green said. "Where's the challenge?"
Despite snowboarder's views, Roberts finds that skiboards lure riders off their skis and snowboards into the next millennium.
"It's fun, quick and not very expensive," Roberts said.
(Provided by The Boulder County Business Report Volume 18, Issue 13)