Skiboards are equipment used in the winter sport of skiboarding, which was introduced in the early 1990s. The boards resemble skis, although they are usually about half the length of traditional skis and twice the width. Skiboards are sold by a number of American and European companies, including Salomon, which markets the boards under the trade name Snowblades. For this reason, the sport is sometimes erroneously called snowblading.
The sport is immensely popular among its followers, many of whom tout it as far more enjoyable than other snow sports. On a skiboard, it is possible to ski through deep powder, maneuver in heavily wooded areas, cope with moguls or small bumps on the ski course, and tear up the snow like snowboarders do. They boards are also easy to learn for most individuals, including those who have no experience with snow sports.
Skiboarding is sometimes compared to inline skating, and many inline skaters have picked up skiboards for winter fun. For this reason, it is sometimes called a transitional sport, attracting winter sports enthusiasts as well as skaters. The sport allows athletes to power through a wide variety of terrain as well as executing tricks including complex turns and flips. These boards are welcome on most ski slopes, and also share room in the half pipe with snowboarders.
Skiboards resemble short, fat, twin tipped skis in design. They are tipped at both ends to allow the skier to move backward or forwards with ease. Most boards also have a slight hourglass shape which allows the athlete to carve through the snow. Most ski boarders use fixed bindings like snowboarders, and do not usually carry ski poles either.
Skiboards work with most conventional ski and snowboarding boots. Some boards are designed to work with hiking boots for back country expeditions, so that hikers can easily transition to and from skis. Boots should be comfortable while allowing freedom of movement and a fully upright stance. It is also important to make sure that the heel is stable in the boot, and will not slip or rise with the skier's movement.
Skiboards are also used in free style skiing, because they allow a wide range of movement. Free style skiers usually enjoy playing with these boards as well as conventional skis. Most people who pick up a pair of skiboards find themselves returning to the sport, partially because it is easy to learn and skiers at all skill levels quickly become comfortable on skiboards.