Have you ever considered learning to ski or add a little spice to your favorite downhill winter sport?

snowblades aka mini-skis, 'big feet' or even 'carving toys'

There once again being called the 'craze' amongst down hill skiers. Snowblading is also considered to be just like inline skating on snow!

Snowblades are much smaller than your normal ski, which is approximately no more than 3 feet long. They use the same boot and binding as normal skis - so a new boot would not need to be purchased. They are great on groomed runs, in snow adventure parks, moguls, on steeps and up to 6 inches of powder (but do be careful on powder, because of their limited floating surface they start to nose-dive or submarine.

For those willing to contribute to such a winter sport the blades themselves are seperately sold from bindings (needed!), blades typically do not come with poles but they are optional. Also keep in mind you'll be purchasing lift passes and pending on where you live and what resort is close could be pricey - have fun!



How To Ride These Puppies

--> Get snow and stay low!

Flex your ankles forward and bend your knees until you just go past the point where you can't see your boot toes any longer. Get your butt cheeks lowered (like on a heel-side carving turn on your snowboard).

--> Get wide and glide!

For lateral stability have your feet wider apart than you would for downhill skiing or in-line skating. Generally you check out the width of your shoulders and hips and match your foot stance width with the wider of the 2 (in traditional skiing you match your foot stance with the narrower of the 2).

--> Get your hands out front and you won't dump!

Due to the short length you have to adjust your fore and aft balance. Bring your center of balance farther back to your heels than you would in downhill skis. Also keep your tips up so you don't hook them in snow clumps and fall on your face. With your tips up and your weight back you need to counter-balance by having your hands out front more (OK...you might look a bit like a zombie or Frankenstein, but it's better than 'crashing and burning'!).

--> Scissor your Snow-Blades and slice up the slopes!

In regular snow-skis you might have your lead ski (your ski on the inside of your turn or your uphill ski) about half boot length of the other. On your snowblades you need to exaggerate this scissoring action and have the inside ski father ahead to provide you with a longer running length for high speed riding.

--> Take a lesson and spend less time on your butt!

If you thought learning to snow-board was quick wait until you try this sport. We last season gave a lesson to a friend of mine. Who had only skied once in his life and inline skated twice. Admittedly he had been a skate boarder back in the early 90's and generally had some good balance skills...but snow knowledge was something new to him! In a 2 hour snow-blading lesson he learned 'stance and balance', how to snow-plow, how to do 'yo-yo' snow-plows, how to ride-a-frame, how to swizzle and how to ride parallel, how to pivot his snow-blades for parallel turns, how to ride green circle and blue square difficulty runs, how to carve turns and how to ride backwards on gentle grades.

Excerpt from the magazine Ski Today.