Skiboarding is a winter sport which combines elements of skating, snowboarding, and skiing. Skiboards are generally 80-120 centimeters long, symmetrical, twin tipped, and wider than traditional skis. In addition, they generally have non-release bindings, very similar to snowboard hard-boot bindings (some skiboards are now on the market which feature ski-like releasable bindings). The sport is often referred to as snow-blading or skiblading, however, "Snowblades" are a trademark of Salomon.
The first prototype of the modern skiboard was the Atomic Glider (later renamed the Figl), a 63.5 centimeter bindingless ski designed in 1982 to fit into a hiker's backpack and sold primarily in Colorado. Around 1990, Austrian company Kneissel introduced the BigFoot, a 65 centimeter, foam-injected ski with a binding system. Some consider the BigFoot to be the first mass-produced skiboard. Next came the MicroSki, created by Kent Keiswieller in 1992.
From 1993-1996, the first products actually referred to as skiboards were manufactured by several pioneer companies, including Canon, Line, GrooveUSA, Klimax, and Powder Company.
In 1997, German ski company Salomon (Adidas-Salomon) released their version of skiboards, called Snowblades, in response to skiboarding's growing popularity. Soon many larger ski companies such began to produce skiboards.
Skiboarding was replaced with skiing in the X Games, a hard hit to the United Skiboard Series (USS). Professional skiboarders no longer had a forum to compete, and several professional skiboarders including Mike Nick, Iannick B., and Nicky Adams switched to freestyle skiing. The lack of a professional circuit caused skiboarding to drop in popularity around 2001.
Since then, skiboarding has been growing a steady following. Some elements of skiboarding are easier to learn than skiing, so many people with little or no experience in snow sports can use it as an easy way to get down the slopes. Skiboards can also be used as a tool to learn skiing, or as a change of pace for advanced skiers. The short length and sidecut of skiboards makes them easier to turn than traditional skis, but their short length also makes it more important to have a centered stance. Because of the shorter length, skiboarding is hard to perfect where longer skis give an advantage, such as when performing aerial maneuvers, skiing through soft snow or powder, and generally more aggressive skiing.
In 2004, Bentfilms released White Dwarf, a skiboarding video highlighting the technical possibilities of skiboarding, separating it from skiing, and showcasing the talents of many new riders.
2007 marked a landmark in the advancement of skiboarding, as riders from around the world came together in Predeal, Romania for the first ever Skiboard World Cup. Three freestyle events were held (Rail Jam, Big Air and Slopestyle) as well as three racing events (Skiboard Cross, Fakie Downhill and Chinese Downhill). The World Skiboard Association was the main organizer of the event.
2008 was another breakthrough year for Skiboard. World Skiboard Association organized the first European Skiboard Cup in Busteni, Romania and the second World Cup in Dubai, U.A.E. The Skiboard World Cup - Dubai 2008 was a historic moment for all winter sports as it was the first ever snow sport International event held in the desert. 15 countries participated in the 2008 competitions. Although Japan, Romania, Russia and USA won the World Cup medals, all participating athletes were winners through their performances and dedication.
Because of the limited market in small sports like skiboarding, these companies often don't make enough money to stay in business. Former core companies in skiboarding that are no longer in business include Canon, Groove, Journey, Lunch Lady Industries and Imperial.
Line, today famous for its twin tip skis, began exclusively as a skiboarding company. Eventually, Line began making twin tip skis, and stopped focusing on skiboarding. Currently, Line skiboards lack many of the features that originally made them famous. Line no longer uses the industry standard 4x4 binding pattern nor sponsors skiboarders and skiboard events.
Since Line switched its focus from skiboards to twin tip skis, several new companies have stepped up to fill the void left in skiboarding. These companies include:
Other companies who make skiboards, but not exclusively include: