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History of Snowskates: What Was Once Old Is New Again
Little did I know that 1970s Christmas morning when I put on the K-tel Fun Skis that Santa had brought me and unceremonious landed on my butt at the bottom of the hill in our front lawn that I was riding what would be the latest trend of the new millennium.
Heck, at the time I didn't even know what the new millennium was. I thought that what I had precariously strapped to my Scooby Doo snow boots were skis, but I learned later that they were one of the precursors to snowskates, the illegitimate children of skateboards and snowboards.
Here's a bit more information about snowskates and how you can join in on the fun:
From Snurfer to Snowskates
In the mid-1960s, a man by the name of Sherman Poppen created the Snurfer, the precursor to the modern snowboard. It was said to be a way to surf on the snow, much in the same way that skateboarding was said to be created as a way of surfing on the sidewalk. Who knew that the surfers of yore would inspire so many new sports?
Rumor has it that the Snurfer also inspired the creation of the K-tel Fun Skis. They were sold by Canadian-based company K-tel International in the mid-1970s, were made from plastic, had grooves on the bottom of them and, in my opinion, closely resemble some of today's snowskates. They also helped you go extremely fast down snow covered hills and caused my first sports injuries, a sprained ankle and a bruised behind. In the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, snowskates started to appear on the marketplace. They were sold under the names Skeeter and Snodad, but didn't really catch on with mainstream America.
In the late 1990s, a company by the name of Premier emerged. It was owned at the time by Andy Wolf, a former pro snowboarder, and started manufacturing snowskates. In case you have never seen a snowskate, it looks like a skateboard deck and performs like one in the snow. You can find a gnarly video of snowskaters in action on the Ski Channel's website. At first snowskates enjoyed marketplace success but then interest waned to the point where it had almost gone the way of the brontosaurus. That is until 2005 when skateboarder/snowboarder Danny Sheehan started working on a snowskate design of his own. Sheehan's design became quite popular and is still sold today under the name of Ralston Snowskates.
How to Get in On the Trend
Today, snowskating is considered very trendy on the West Coast and even has its own competitive events. One of which is the Annual Ralston Cup. There are several different types of snowskates on the marketplace to choose from, including the single deck, the bi-deck, the powderskate and the 4x4. Avid skateboarders have also been known to use their old skate decks as snowskates. If you'd like to give the sport a try, you can purchase the different varieties of snowskates online for anywhere from $50 to $100. You can also connect with other snowskaters online through the Go Snowskate website. Be warned though, not all ski resorts welcome snowskaters so you may have to go rogue and create a spot of your own. I know of a hill in New York that you can try.
My children are skaters and our family has a history of enjoying winter sports.
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