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February 15, 2007

Skiers versus Boarders - from the Boston Globe

Yeah, my K2 Silencers and Atomic Stomps are pimped. Twin Tips rock and may be the biggest advance skiing since shaped skis. And based on skier numbers and the resurgence in skiing, they may be even bigger. Interesting article from the Boston Globe:

These days a new question has proponents on both sides in the following argument: Are snowboards or free riding on twin tips the coolest way to hit the slopes?

Conventional thinking has it that snowboarding went from establishing a beachhead in the stronghold of skiing to dominating the slopes.

Compared with skiing, snowboarding was hipper, mellower, newer, younger, more rebellious, more fun (certainly the boots were more comfortable).

But that is changing my friends.

But then something else started to develop, subtly at first: The advent of free ride skiing on twin-tip skis.

Free riders cruise the same terrain as boarders, but coming off a ramp or pipe wall, fly higher and do tricks with more variety, owing to the fact that they can move their skis independently.

A free skier might hit the ramp moving forward, sometimes skiing backward and looking back over his shoulder. The freedom of free riding begins with the fact twin tips can ski backward and forward equally well, setting up a variety of trick possibilities.

The appearance of free riding may be interesting in itself. But then consider a National Sporting Goods Association survey showing the trends in snowboarding, and skiing might have taken a counterintuitive turn. To wit: from 2004 to 2005, the number of skiers rose nationally nearly 17 percent, from 5.9 million to 6.9 million. During the same period, snowboard participation fell 10 percent, from 6.6 million to 6 million.

Perhaps more significant is that this constitutes the first drop in snowboarding since there was snowboarding.

Is two planking it cool again? Well, from a guy whose kids and baby brother ride twin tips, yeah. I watched Winter X with my oldest son and Tanner Hall rips it up. I know Shawn White is a pimp and Olympian and all, but the skiers were going higher and hitting the pipe harder than the snowboarders. Well, the half pipe since I am sure that Snowboarders can hit other pipes much harder. (subtle knock on snowboarders)

As a skier, I have been subjected to ridicule by my snowboarding friends that thought only snowboarding was cool and skiing was so last decade. Well, the tables are turning and I am on my second set of twins and my kids are jibbing and throwing down.

Check my Where Did the Rebel Factor in Snowboarding Go> from June of last year.

Posted by Justin at February 15, 2007 11:23 PM

Comments

As an instructor I can tell you this trend certainly did start last year and has gained more traction this year. All snowboard instructors I work with this year are working towards their PSIA Level 1 rating. Not just because they'd like the $1 increase in their paychecks to be dual certified, but also because, well, they've not had that many classes. It's hard to make money if you're not teaching.

Posted by: Oft-piste at February 16, 2007 11:35 AM

Everything has its cycle. I am not saying snowboarding is gonna die or anything, just that skiing is making a major comeback as being cool again.

I still keep telling myself that I want to try snowboarding, but the fact is that the only time I EVER EVEN WANT TO ATTEMPT IT is on a powder day when the snow is soft and I don't end up in a butt donut. And on those days, I wait all month for the few we get and want to bust out the mid-fats and ski.

It is very difficult to get good at skiing--you know, where folks look at you from the lifts as you ride under them and go "Damn, that guy is good". Snowboarding, you carve with one edge and don't have poles and an extra ski to worry about. It is funny how little my buddies that snowboard recognize the challenges to skiing, and that fact that kids are willing to take up something that requires much more effort is encouraging.

Posted by: Justin at February 18, 2007 09:33 AM

Great post Justin! There was a point about 10 years ago when the skiers saw waht was happening and started laying down bigger tricks right in the boarders back yard. Guy like Shane McConkey that led the charge to fat skis and started showing snowboarders that skiers had a few tricks up their sleeve too.

I don't have anything against snowboarders in fact I think that we have a lot to thank them for since skiing has taken the kick in the pants from boarding to innovate more in equipment and technique. It is nice to see the broader public recognizing that skiing is at least as cool as snowboarding.

Posted by: Steamboat Springs at February 18, 2007 10:14 PM