Monoskiing is a winter sport related to skiing which uses a single double wide ski. The skier plants both feet on the board facing forwards and skis using traditionally styled ski poles. Monoskiing is sometimes compared to snowboarding, a sport which superseded monoskiing after the 1980s. Monoskiing is an interesting alternative to regular skiing, especially for disabled skiers or those with weak knees.
The monoski was invented in the 1950s, but it wasn't until the late 1960s that the design was picked up by a California surfer who refined it and popularized the sport, which remained popular for approximately 20 years. A monoski is built much like a conventional ski, except that it is double wide. The bindings are placed side by side so that the skiers legs are essentially locked together facing forward.
The equipment used for monoskiing is usually identical to that used in conventional skiing. Monoskiers need ski poles, ski boots, bindings, and weather appropriate clothing. The sport is relatively easy for regular skiers to pick up, although it does take some getting used to, especially in terms of balance. It is possible to perform ski stunts on monoskis, as well as reaching high speeds, catching air, and engaging in traditional cross country skiing.
Monoskiing is easier on the knees than conventional skiing. For this reason, some skiers with weak knees have adopted monoskiing, which centers the weight between the knees while they move with the axis of movement. Individuals with a history of knee injury may wish to look into monoskiing. Monoskiing also requires a lot of upper body effort, which balances the work between upper and lower body more equally than in conventional skiing.
Special equipment for paraplegic skiers is also called a monoski. A monoski for disabled skiing is actually a type of chair with a ski mounted onto it which can be controlled with the upper body alone. For paraplegics who miss skiing, or paraplegics interested in picking up a new sport, this type of monoski can be very empowering.
The snowboard came into popularity after the monoski, and many winter sports enthusiasts switched to snowboarding. Snowboards are more stable than monoskis, although the learning curve is steeper. Despite the popularity of the snowboard, monoskiing is still practiced in some parts of the world. It can be difficult to obtain monoskis and lessons in some regions, but monoskiing is a sport worth exploring.