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Eric Debruyne . Photo: Pascal "Scalp" Gombert

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>> COMPANY PROFILES

>> WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO

>> TIME TO FREE

Pr em ie rE di ti on

YOUR FEET


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E D I T O R I A L

HERE’S TO NEW TRAILS! THE REALITY IS THAT IF YOU’RE a long-

the idea. It’s taken the passion and persever-

boarder and live in a climate that has snow,

ance of a number of people to keep things

you basically have three options. You can

moving forward. Thanks to these visionaries

move to a warmer climate, but this can be dif-

and stoke spreaders, the underground scene

ficult. You can sulk, waiting out winter with a

is slowly, but surely, emerging.

Paul Elkins Photo: Kurt Reise

surly disposition, pining for dry roads. Or you can go out snowboarding, but that generally

These products are fun. You can ride them

requires a hill and a lift ticket. But now there

on large and small hills or even a local golf

is a fourth option. Snow skates and powder

course or maybe even the neighbors back-

surfers combine the best of what long-

yard! Snow skating and powder surfing open

boarding and snowboarding provide.

up a new world to riders. In much the same way larger boards, softer wheels and tight-

It’s been a slow but steady journey—much

turning trucks changed the way people

like our world in longboarding. We can go

enjoy asphalt, snow skates and powder

back to 1964 with the introduction of the

surfers will change the way we enjoy snow.

Snurfer—a board that you could ride on snow

Enjoy the ride!

that had no bindings. Then 2001 Burton introduced the Snowdeck, over time, gave up on

Michael Brooke | Publisher & Editor

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C O M P A N Y

P R O F I L E S

AMBITION Ambition boards are made with Canadian hard maple, just like high-end skateboards. They have a different shape, though, providing good pop on snow. They are flat, for stability, and channeled from nose to tail for traction and control. The middle groove is also wider, which lets you lock onto rails. Topsheets are EVA foam. Adding Xtremegrip really makes it into a functional snow skateboard in any snow condition. All our boards are epoxy laminated so they do not delaminate and so they can endure water and snow. This year we have come up with new shapes for extra pop and lighter construction. ambitionsnowskates.com

BOYD HILL We are committed to building the best snowskates possible, for any conditions on the planet. We strive for excellence in manufacturing. We noticed that downhill skateboarders have always gravitated to our longer, powder-specific boards, so we decided to make the longboard of snowskates this year with the 133-cm Mountain Bluebird – a long ski, slightly narrower throughout to allow the rider to initiate tight, precise turns. This board should come with a warning label because it will carve downhill at face-melting speeds. Not for the faint of heart, this will be a fast one to get your speed fix. boydhill.com

CHILLER

Nestled at the base of the Selkirk Mountains in northern Idaho, the Chillerdecks shop is dedicated to producing true all-mountain tools that are binding-free. Years of continuous testing have produced skates that redefine how a rider views terrain. Ultra-light, deep-concave top decks with foam grip and Xtremegrip spikes provide a secure platform

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for the feet. A sliding truck system with quickrelease pins provides on-the-fly adjustability. Subs ranging in size from 108-cm play boards to 162-cm backcountry floaters leave no area unserved. We build what we ride so we can ride where we want. chillerdecks.com

DECEMBER Desperate to continue surfing during winter flat spells and tired of the winter roads covered in sand, snow and salt, we hiked into the cold mountains to improve on what we learned surfing waves and carving asphalt. We found that riding bindingless was the answer. Whether it was on untracked powder or on perfectly groomed resort mountains, riding snow was finally on the same level as skateboarding or surfing. We used our backgrounds in industrial technology and board sports to design and produce traditionally built skate decks and powdersurfers. Our focus has always been building decks specifically for snowskaters that concentrated on lightness, healthy concave and a longer wheelbase. These qualities give the rider a greater edge, while retaining improvements in water resistance (they are built with the snow in mind). All of our handmade snow craft are designed to connect the rider to the mountain with the same freedom skateboarders and surfers have enjoyed for decades. decembersnowskates.com

ERABOARD For seven years we have developed and fine-tuned a new category of binding-free boards we call the Eraboard. The Eraboard provides the possibility and ability of exploring all parts of the mountain on the same board, without the equipment ever holding back your performance in the slightest, no matter what conditions you are challenged by. That’s just what the Eraboard is about: One board to ride all. eraboards@gmail.com

FLORIDA POWDERSKATE Why Florida Powderskate? There is rarely snow in Florida — the highest elevation is less than 400 feet, and company founder Adam Bennett left the Northwest to work in the Florida Panhandle

for a spell back in ’04. So yeah, laugh it up. Then get some serious fun on a one-of-a-kind powderskate. Florida Powderskate provides a snow surfing experience like none other. Each powderskate is designed and crafted in California to go fast and carve cosmic turns. Our Powderskate collection has a setup for every rider. Setups include deck with grip, Rocker trucks, Florida Powderskate ski, hardware, and an Ungi Bungi snow leash. Experience snow surfing this winter. fpskate.com

FUSE FUSE offers three very different types of skates for very different types of riding and/or conditions. We started out making four mini skis instead of wheels on a skateboard. This setup is going to be skateboarding’s closest cousin. Using skateboard trucks, the skis can glide essentially flat like a skate wheel, offering stable control. Familiar feel, ollies and flip tricks make for a quick learning curve for skateboarders. The FUSE 1X (double deck) is more closely related to snowboarding. A single ski, or sub, mounted below a top deck by “trucks,” comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Small models are generally for getting tricks and jibbing at resorts or around town. The big models are for raging powder, big lines, drops and jumping. FUSE Flat decks are the most versatile for tricks in combination with urban setups. Ledges, rails, stair sets, gaps and sketchy survival lines are all part of the fun in getting down with singles. fusesnow.com

GRASSROOTS POWDERSURFING

Grassroots Powdersurfing was founded in 2007 to create a pure, binding-free powderriding experience. Drawing inspiration from skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding, we came up with a form of self-expression and progression that had yet to be explored. Our shapes and designs provide unbeatable float, control, pop, freedom and agility. We’ve developed boards for every type of rider and terrain, maximizing creative potential and providing a surfy ride and feel unlike anything else on earth.


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HARFANG H a r f a n g Snowskates headquarters are located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As a rider-oriented company, we’re dedicated to bringing you the highest-quality snowskate products. We proudly support local manufacturing. All boards are made in Quebec, allowing us to respect our higher standards. The ever-growing lineup includes sub-skis, top decks, leashes, trucks, grip tape, tools, wax, apparel and more. The all-around 43 snowskate comes with a 108-cm x 12.3 cm x 15.3 cm twin tip, rocker to concave sub-ski and a 7-ply, all-maple 35.5” x 9.375” top deck with specially designed glue and varnish that will withstand the worst conditions. harfangsnowskates.com

Snowskating: the soul of surfing, edge of snowboarding, tech of skating. minus-7.com

PAROLE BOARDS P a r o l e B o a r d s Snowskates come in several different options. We offer both Fulcrum and Jail Breaker trucks. They are a pivoting truck that allows the ski to flex more. This translates into more pop and a smoother ride. Several different top deck options are available. The Felony snowskate is a great allmountain skate. It allows stability on the steepest black diamonds and pop in the flats. Our decks are real street shredders and make easy work of the skate parks. We custommake each board with attention to craftsmanship and detail. parole-boards.com

HOVLAND Hovland offers bi-deck snowskates that are designed to ride your whole resort, from top to bottom. The company is run by snowskaters, skateboarders and snowboarders and has the goal of making the raddest snowskates possible, as well as helping to expand all-mountain snowskating to resorts worldwide. We manufacture our snowskates at an elite snowboard factory, ensuring that you are going to get the best build in the marketplace at a fair price. hovlandsnowskates.com

MINUS 7 Minus 7 was born out of the dual frustration of not being able to skateboard six months out of the year in the Sierra Nevada and a snowboard really not “riding like a skateboard in the snow.” To put it bluntly: A skateboard doesn’t come with shackles. Newly designed blades and top decks reflect our years of riding and d e v e l o p i n g snowskates, making this our best skate yet. Minus 7 has been rider-owned and ridermade since July 7, 2007. We operate our own top deck and blade presses. All snowskates are built Donner Summit tough.

PIONEER Pioneer has a snowskate for every rider. From the beginner to the expert in the park or in the powder, Pioneer snowskates do it ALL! Our snowskates are handmade in the USA and our cores are made of vertically laminated popular and other woods to produce a light and poppy skate. Our newest skate is the 49er! It is an allmountain skate. A little bigger, it takes on all conditions and is a racers’ favorite! pioneersnowskates.com

PREDOG

Predog Snowskate is your one-stop snowskate shop, dedicated to providing the highest-quality snowskates available. We joined the snowskate community in 2006 as an independent, family-owned company, and we’ve built snowskates and designed products for every

aspect of the sport ever since. Whether you ride groomers, park, all-mountain or powder, Predog has the perfect snowskate. Our products are tested in the Sierra Nevada Mountains by snowskaters like yourself to deliver the performance you demand. predog.com

RAYNE Rayne Longboards have long been regarded as the gold standard for downhill skateboards and longboards. Hand crafting their fun-sticks at the base of North Vancouver's Rocky Mountains, Rayne and snow have been innately joined from day one. Rayne's premium Bamboo and Fibreglass construction fits perfectly for high performance fun in the snow. Head over to Rayne.com to see their lineup of Snowskate Top Decks and brand new 2014 Pow-surfers.

REBELAB Made in North Lake Tahoe, the Lab Rat 137 cm is a pow blade that can take you practically anywhere. The nose is 10 ¼” wide, providing plenty of float in deep conditions. The tapered sidecut, down to the 5 5/8”-wide tail, allows for great control on inbound groomers as well as in varying conditions of the side or backcountry. rebelab.com

RIVAL Rival Snowsurf is super excited to introduce to you the Rival Stealth powsurfer. This board is new for 2014 and the result of many years of research and development at the Hurricane Pow Lab. Winters are spent up above the clouds in the white sparkly fluffy stuff, slaying pow stashes until legs burn, only to return to the Rival Shaping Shack to refine and dial in the perfect shapes for bindingless pow surfing. This board is the past, present and the future. The future is now. 138 cm x 33 cm, horizontally laminated Soviet birch, karate tail-kick technology, hydrodynamic channels and pow-specific rocker, hand-built in the good ol’ USA. rivalsnowsurf.com

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WHY

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WHY WE BUILD By Bryce Rich | Boyd Hill Snowskates I happened to camp out with a couple of other snowskate builders from the Pacific Northwest. After a few beers, the conversation inevitably went to building. We talked about technique, materials and graphics. Then things turned to shaping. We all agreed shaping was our favorite part of building. The ability to visualize a new idea, build it and test it by flying down a hill on it is not only fun; it also has the potential to revolutionize a rap-

Bryce Rich Photo: TJ Sneum

idly growing sport. When Boyd Hill started building

snowskates about six years ago, we did it because we couldn’t find the equipment we needed. Everything was either too small, poorly made or didn’t exist. We couldn’t buy the bottom ski (sub) by itself or find accessories like foam grip or leashes, so we decided to build our own. One of my close friends, T.J., happens to be a master ski builder. When we brought T.J. the idea of Boyd Hill Snowskates, he pretty much just shrugged and said “OK.” T.J. has plenty of experience with ideas and innovation, having prototyped the first twin-tip snow skis in the early ’90s. The first model we pressed was the shape we thought a proper snowskate should have. We pressed four of them. They were almost unrideable. We learned exactly what didn’t work, and it gave us a great starting point. The next skate we made was a success, and we still use that model today. Being a relatively small factory, we have learned that we have distinct advantages over big companies and overseas manufacturing. Large companies can spend a year between prototyping a new model and shipping that new model to consumers. Anyone manufacturing overseas is stuck with expensive tooling fees to produce one model, whereas we can have five new models for the same amount of money and a fraction of the time. We can have a new shape prototyped and on the snow in one week. Boyd Hill approaches snowskating as skateboarding on snow, something that snowboarding simply has never been. Building our own equipment and designing our own shapes is our chance to influence the future of our sport by valuing quality and superior design. We have an incredibly tight-knit global community of riders. We have the opportunity to learn from mistakes made by the ski and snowBryce works on his latest masterpiece. Photo: TJ Sneum

board industries to not only make a better product, but a better sport.

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WHY I STARTED GRASSROOTS POWDERSURFING By Jeremy Jensen | Grassroots Powdersurfing I decided to start building and shaping my own boards in 2007 because I had been dreaming of a different type of powder riding. I wanted to float effortlessly in powder with full control, riding forwards or backwards with my feet free to move around the board and the board free to spin and flip beneath my feet. I basically wanted to mix my favorite activities (powder snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing) into one. Nothing existed at the time that would allow me to do this, so I decided to start playing around with creating something myself. I had experimented for nearly a decade by simply taking the bindings off of “powder specific” snowboards or cutting boards into new shapes, but they just didn’t perform to my standards. It was obvious to me that boards needed to be shaped and designed specifically for binding-free riding, especially for the type of riding that I was interested in. I didn’t want to make a board that rode like a snowboard. I wanted to achieve a more “surfy” and “floaty” feel and at the same time allow the rider to take full advantage of being unattached to the board. I wanted something new and different that could open up new avenues of progression that had yet to be explored. This is why

Jeremy Jensen Photo: J. Jensen

I started Grassroots Powdersurfing.

WHY SNOWSKATES? Zak Brosnihan | Parole Boards There’s always that next big hill, to raise the bar and challenge yourself. You look at it a hundred times, and then one day you get up the nerve to go for it. The rush you get when you start down a major vertical drop for the first time … is snowskating. When you’re on a snowskate, the level of uncertainty and adrenaline you get is unmatched. Ultimately you will master it, and along the way you’ll get to experience a true longboard/surfing feeling: constantly pushing yourself, bombing hills, dropping ledges and surfing powder with nothing to restrain you. It’s just you, your board and the incline. You’ll be drawing your lines on the fly, shredding backcountry, slashing through drifts as you speed down the mountain. Christophe Guyot Photo: Mike Steinhauser

It is truly the most thrilling thing you can do on snow. It makes the small hills big and old runs new.

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THE HEART OF SNOWSKATING or FREE YOUR FEET

Alan Gerlach Photo: Justin Majeczky

B Y

M E L I S S A

D U G E

S P I E R S

“I SKATE BECAUSE OF THE CHALLENGE,

tain on a skateboard deck attached via hinged

take: understanding your surroundings, situ-

the freedom and the pure radness of it.”

metal trucks to a ski, of all things. The size of

ation and circumstances and controlling your

Sound familiar? It must be a longboarder

the deck and the ski vary depending on snow

ride through varying terrain purely by

speaking, yes? Not quite. It is Matt Quam, a

conditions, rider preference and skill level.

shifting your feet and not being attached to

Warren Miller film vet and snowskating

Snowskaters use skill and balance to stay

anything,” says Jim Spiers, owner of Predog

champion, referring to the sport that has

on their boards, not bindings. This blows

Snowskate. “It’s an amazing feeling to truly

compelled him and an exploding community

average observers out of the water but should

surf a mountain, without bindings, while

of others to free their feet and ditch their

come as no surprise to skateboarders and

being in total control,” he adds with a grin.

snowboards for good.

surfers. It is, after all, exactly where that chal-

It used to be de rigueur to create your own

What is snowskating, exactly? It is the art of

lenge, freedom and pure radness come from.

“frankenskate” with scavenged and repur-

skateboarding on snow — shredding the moun-

“To be free is a natural balance, a give and

posed parts and pieces: a shaved-down

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Eric Nelson Photo: Cole Thompson

snowboard, a kid’s ski, an old skate deck, Eric Debruyne Photo: KA

with blocks of wood for risers — whatever was at hand. Now a host of snowskate-specific companies (see sidebar) are producing top-of-the-line, complete skates in a variety of sizes, shapes and high-tech materials. They also produce their own snowskate movies, blogs, competitions and magazines, as well as a drool-worthy assortment of snowskate-only accessories, from trucks to leashes to grip tape to apparel. The improved equipment, legitimacy and support of snowskate-dedicated companies have helped the sport explode internationally, with enthusiastic snowskate communities shredding, carving and pushing park/trick limits across the globe: in Europe, Canada, the U.S., Japan and more. And while the average

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Matt Quam Photo: Mikie Farias

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Jeremy Jensen Photo: Craig Stevenson


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Paul Elkins Photo: Josh Jackson

Mike Steinhauser Photo: Xavier Ripoles

person still may have a hard time wrapping his/her head around a binding-free mode of ripping down the mountain, skateboarders often take it right in stride … or ride. Most snowskaters are avid skateboarders in the summer months, and snowskating makes the perfect winter opportunity for skateboarders to do what they love: ride. Skateboarders are accustomed to that magic “freedom” thing, says Jeff Nokkeo, a former U.S. Open snowboarding finalist turned snowskater. “Like skateboarding,” he says simply, “snowskating is all about the fun.” There is no dragging, no uncomfortable footwear, no feeling of being trapped or tied down by your equipment. Instead, there is the absolute liberty to change up your stance, giving you the ultimate flexibility of “walking the board” to tailor your ride in real time — no binding adjustments needed. Ride the front of your board, lie back on the tail, take a wide stance or narrow it up, all in one run down the mountain.

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Eric Debruyne Photo: Joes

Michelle Minahan Hickman, a consistent podium presence in North American women’s snowskating, says succinctly, “My favorite thing about snowskating is that it feels closest to skateboarding. It’s way, WAY more fun than anything else!” It seems so obviously right: riding the snow without bindings, just as skateboarders have been doing (sans snow) forever. Why has it taken so long to take hold? Who knows, but its time has definitely come. The fun and freedom that are at the heart of snowskating are here to stay, especially for boardsport aficionados who already identify with that addictive combo. “The truth is that it comes from your mind and your feet,” says Mark “Spicolli” Montgomery, one of the top North American riders. “[Y]ou can stand on top of a mountain with nothing binding you down … ride the whole thing with your feet free and pick any line you want. Free your feet and your mind will follow.” Now all you have to do is … ahem … jump on board.

Alan Gerlach Photo: Bjorn RG

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Snow Skater & Powder Surfer  

Welcome to a new way to have fun on the snow!