What are Snowblades Used For?
It’s time to hit the slopes again and if you’re itching to try something new, then snowblading might just be the ideal winter sport you.
But first, let’s get you up to basics starting with the snow blades.
Snowblades are much like skies and snowboards constructed into one. Used for riding down the slopes, snowblades are famous for its versatility and easy use and they are about half the length and twice the width of skis.
Also, snowblades are like small versions of snowboards, except there’s one for each foot.
Snowblades were called Skiboards when it was created back in 1996 but when a company named Salomon produced their own skiboards, they marketed it as Snowblades and the name caught on up until today.
Regular Skis vs Snowblades
So, what’s better, skies or snowblades?
That depends on your skill on the slope and the techniques you want to do.
But basically, the main difference of your regular ski to snowblade is the size. Like what’s already said, snowblades are only half the length of the ski but wider.
Aside from the length, the design of snowblades is different from the regular skis.
The twin-tip of a snowblade allows you to do everything that skiers and snowboarders do but you can also turn 360’s on the ground, go backward, and have many more tricks to perform compared to a regular ski.
Which one is easier?
If you’ve never tried skiing, snowblades are your best friend. Snowblades are much easier than traditional skis.
Because of its shorter length, it’s easier to grasp the basic skills of going down the slope.
You can stand and turn easier, as well as remaining upright. Also, snowblades are great for maintaining balance!
This is why many new skiers find skiing a lot less intimidating when they’re using snowblades instead of traditional skis.
You get the same exhilarating experience of going down the slope but less hard. Also, snowblades are slower than traditional skis on straightaways.
So if you’re a beginner, you can definitely make use of snowblades for your first time before moving on to skis.
But snowblades are not just for beginners. Seasoned skiers can also use snowblades to practice new skiing tricks before moving on to traditional skis.
So if you already know how to ski using traditional skis, using a snowblade will be just fine.
Picking the right size of your Snowblade
Before you hit the slopes to try snowblading, there are a couple of things you have to check first and one of them is your snowblade size.
The rule of thumb to this when picking the right size of your snowblade is what you plan to do with it. Are you going to take it slow and learn the basics of skiing? Try tricks and jumps in terrain parks or do you want to go into new territory and jam through deep powder?
Regardless of what you’re doing, you need a good snowblade with the right size. Here is some basic reference when you’re buying or renting out your snowblade:
- 75cm – 99cm: Great for skiers interested in performing tricks, skiing on moguls, tree-ridden pathways, or playing on the open runs.
- 90 cm – 120cm: Preferred for getting big air and doing tricks.
- 99cm – 125cm: Perfect for beginners as well as high-speed skiing.
Your height and weight can also be a factor.
But generally speaking, shorter blades are the most maneuverable while longer blades are easier to ride and carve bigger turns which makes it the best choice for beginners.
Are Snowblades illegal and banned at ski resorts?
Perhaps the most important thing you need to check before getting your own snowblades and hitting the slopes is whether your ski resort allows the use of snowblades. Or, if it is even legal to do so.
In Vermont, a bill banning the use of snowblades at all public ski areas in the state was signed into law back in 2015.
According to the Vermont Ski Areas Association:
the presence of ski bladers on trails, on lifts, and around the base areas of resorts make our most loyal guests uncomfortable.
They also added that the presence of snowblades damages the reputation of Vermont as a “serious snow sports destination”.
The danger of Snowblades
What exactly is about snowblades that are worth banning? Are they dangerous?
The thing is, the rules regarding snowblades at ski areas generally pertain to runaway equipment.
Obviously, skis and boards become obstructions on the slope without their owners riding them and can cause accidents so most of the states in the US require devices to prevent runaway equipment.
So when it comes to snowblades, not all of them have leashes to prevent runaway equipment.
All ski resorts have rules that all your skiing gears must be attached to you to prevent obstruction or loss of equipment.
However, as long as you have leashes, you are generally compliant with ski resort policies (case is different for states that banned snowblades).
Another reason why snowblades are banned in some states or ski resorts is for safety reasons.
Generally, you have bindings between your boots and your skis that automatically release you from the skis when there’s too much pressure applied to prevent injury.
So let’s say you’re going way too fast and you tumbled down — without detachable bindings, you’ll roll down the slope with your skis attached to your boots. That’s a recipe for a disaster.
When it comes to snowblades, non-release skiboard bindings are very common. These bindings don’t release if you fall.
Early snowblade manufacturers assumed that snowblades don’t need releasable bindings because the skis are very short. However, studies claimed that this is untrue.
In a case-control study, there is about a 20% increase in the incidence of ankle and tibia fractures for skiboarders compared to participants who are using traditional skis.
This is because of the non-releasable bindings of snowblades.
The rally for Snowblades
Despite states like Vermont banning the use of snowboards, skiers are still not turning their back on snowboards simply because a smart skier is a safe skier.
Recently, snowboard bindings have been developed to work with skiboards. Modern snowblades now have options for releasable bindings no matter how short it is.
The majority of ski trainers still recommend the proper use of snowblades for beginners especially those who are not seasonal skiers like tourists.
With the use of snowblades, you can easily learn how to ski compared to the use of traditional skis or snowboards.
With proper modifications and safety upgrades, there’s no reason why snowblades should be regarded as dangerous itself.
As long as you follow safety regulations, like putting leashes on your blades and having releasable bindings, then your blades don’t increase your likelihood of getting injured.
Your skiing blade is only as good as the skier.
Snowblades safety tips
If you’re using snowblades, especially if this is your first time skiing, here are some reminders to make sure that you and others will stay safe on the slopes:
Have the proper blade add-ons
This is incredibly important. Make sure that your snowblades have leashes attached and you’re using a snowblade with releasable bindings.
If you’re renting out on the ski resort, they automatically have all the safety features you need that are in line with the resort’s regulations.
But if you’re buying your own, make sure that you get these things.
Stay in control
Staying in control is the golden rule of every skier on the slope.
While snowblades are not as fast as traditional skis, you can still lose control if you’re reckless while using it.
The last thing you want on a ski trip is to cause an accident and injure yourself or others!
Get yourself an instructor
If this is your first time skiing, get yourself a trained instructor if possible.
Having proper training will highly decrease your chances of getting injured because you’ll know what the do’s and don’ts of skiing are.
Having an instructor will also help you ski properly regardless if you’re using a snowblade or not.
Wear the proper gear
Helmets and pads are the most important!
Even if you’re a seasoned skier, it’s best to err on the side of caution rather than risking yourself for an injury.
So make sure to strap up and have a complete skiing gear.
Just remember that regardless of your skiing equipment, your safety still depends on how you handle yourself as a skier.
Now that you’ve learned all the basics of snowblading, do you feel ready to hit the slopes?