Predog Trucks

You’ve seen the pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Now you want to know more. Well so did I. I was super intrigued by the new Predog trucks but I also had questions about them. So, I got in touch with my homie Jim Spiers, owner of Predog Snowskates, for the low down.

truck base

If you don’t know about Jim and you haven’t seen a Predog Snowskate, or pair of trucks, or leash, (where the heck have you been for the past few years?) here’s the backstory:  Jim is one of the most science/engineering minded people we’ve got in snowskating. We are lucky to have someone with brains of his caliber and the passion that he has for snowskating. His innovations and products not only make snowskating more safe and more practical, but they help to push the level of riding and enjoyment of it.  I have a ton of respect for him on a personal and professional level and you should too.

So, here’s what he had to say about his new trucks:

ProjectSnowskate: Hey Jim, what’s up? Do you have a name for these trucks yet?

Jim Spiers: Nope, at least nothing really clever or cool at this point… Any suggestions?  Will probably go with a dog theme.

PS : No idea for a name here.  Lemme think on it.  But, how long have you been working on the idea?

Predog HistoryJS: I’ve been playing with polyurethane in trucks for about 6 years off and on.. came up with some crazy stuff back in the day when I was designing the single truck concept that mounted to the center of those snowlerblade ski’s. That was a complete money pit, like most things snowskate. But I learned a lot. You have to love the passion of it all. This particular design has been in fruition for about 2 1/2 years. It took about 6 months for brainstorming, sketching, and finally drawing up for machining to get the prototype built.  After that I had Matt Quam and Pablo Juan ride the crap out of them for the past 2 seasons. I wanted to have some serious rippers hitting them hard and with consistency to make sure they held up to a true skater’s beating. 

PS: What inspired you to try it?

truck completeJS: Stubbornness mostly, the truck is the most complicated piece of a snowskate, so that is where I have spent most my design and R&D time. I am a bit obsessed and I like experimenting. If it doesn’t work the way I want it to, I rethink it and try something different. My ultimate goal is to design a truck that doesn’t wear at all or at least has a replaceable part that is inexpensive. I was looking through some old parts in my shop and came across a polyurethane rod I used in the early designs 6 years ago, and it hit me.

truck sidePS: What’s the advantage? Is there any disadvantage?

JS: There really is no disadvantage, unless you use a soft durometer. The trick is using a durometer that is hard enough to not compromise edge to edge control. The advantage is that it eliminates wear. The pivot point in the truck is where all the force and impact is focused for every carve, ollie, jump, or change in the terrain. Everyone wants something light and the reality is that aluminum stretches and plastic nylon bushings blow out instantly, which in the end creates loose rattling trucks. Urethane is a remarkable material and has many characteristics that make it perfect for the pivot point in a snowskate truck. After two years of riding time with Matt and PJ, the prototypes are still running solid and show minimal, if any wear. I will continue to have PJ ride the prototypes to help identify at what point they break down. PJ rides fast and hard and goes huge, so he is the perfect tester.  

  PS: Talk to me a little bit more about performance advantage. What is the advantage to ride feel, edge control, and even ollie power? Or is it really just about durability and noise reduction?

JS: All I can tell you Kendra, is that these trucks ride super clean and are solid underfoot. Most importantly the prototypes lasted for at least two seasons under some of the hardest riding skaters out there. Conservatively speaking they have at least 160 days on them. I won’t claim that they are going to add more power to your ollie, or make you carve like a machine. This is snowskating, and all we can do is keep innovating and trying to improve our gear on shoestring budgets and loads of passion. So, yeah.. this is really all about durability and noise reduction. I will let the riders speak to the other advantages.

PS: Yo Matt Quam! What do you think of these new trucks?


PS: Rad Quam, thanks. Jim, what is the durometer of the bushings that will come stock with the trucks? If someone is so inclined where can they get harder or softer bushings that will fit them?

truck complete2JS: The trucks come stock with amber 95A durometer, which is ~ 6500psi. If someone is interested in softer or harder, I will likely be making some for my team riders, so they can reach out and let me know. These are custom bushings and are milled to precision to fit these trucks specifically.

PS: Any conditions they are best suited for?

JS: Not really. They are suited for all conditions, no one is better than the other.

PS: What about price range? And when they’ll be available

JS: Price range will be similar to the Roulettes. My goal is keep trucks under $100. If everything goes as planned, they’ll be available in December. 

PS: Any other hot tech you’re working on and excited for for this season…or beyond?

JS: I have been making some powdersurfers and those are turning out great and are a blast to ride. All my snowskate skis have cameltech this year, which adds more flexibility and keeps things light. I guess the coolest thing I have been working on is another truck idea with my buddy Colin Hughes at Ibis bicycles. It is by far the most “tech” truck snowskating will see. Last season, I made a prototype that works in practice, but failed in the field under real riding conditions. It just needs a little tweaking to dial it in. I shelved it for a season to let it fester in the back of my mind. Just needs some subconscious resolution. That was definitely the most expensive prototype I have done, though. It has multiple parts that need machining, high end plastic bearings and custom axle bolts. If I can find the time and money I will make another prototype this year and send them off to Ande Burman for testing. I am pretty sure it will be a game changer, even more so than the polyurethane ones.

Thanks Jim for the time and the tech and Quam for the rad riding and feedback.  Watch the Predog’s Facebook for these trucks to become available!  Then go buy some!


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Christine Tybring-Torsk

If you like watching rad ladies ripping around on snowskates as much as I do, you’ll probably want to watch this one:

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Minus 7 Shop Visit

The weekend of 24th of October, I was invited to the soft opening of The Bike Park at Donner Ski Ranch.  DSR has a rich history of snowboard and snowskate progression.  Marshall Tuttle, the owner, has been an advocate for snowskating for years and has even provided Project Snowskate with reference letters about his positive experiences with the snowskate industry, which has helped foster respect for the sport from other resorts.  In my mind, this mountain is the MOST Snowskate Friendly Resort.  It’s the last family owned ski resort in the Tahoe area, and there is always such a good vibe there.  So when I heard that they were cutting in mountain bike trails, I was there.bikes

KJ1 It also created an opportunity for me to stop by the Minus 7 shop which is right across the street from the DSR lodge.  As usual, Kurt Zapata was more than willing to drop what he was doing to give me a tour and talk to me about what he’s excited about this upcoming year (and beyond) in his snowskate line.

If you aren’t the least bit familiar with Minus 7 Snowskates, let me tell you that this business is truly a family affair. Everyone rides.  Kurt is a madman in the shop.  Just by talking with him, you can feel his passion for the sport and it is obvious that his gears are always turning.  He’s not afraid to try anything, and frankly I get the feeling that he doesn’t care what you have to say about it.  This man is on a mission.  Jill, Mrs. Minus 7, comes across more even-keeled at first, but once you get knee deep in a snowskate conversation with her, that crazy snowskate fire starts blazing in her eyes.   And then there is the spawn of Minus 7.  John A. Zapata is a beast child.  Taller than I am, he’s growing into his lanky body and simultaneously developing some pretty impressive board skills.

RackTouring the shop kind of felt like getting into Kurt’s head.  There was a lot going on in there: prototypes here and there, big boards, kid boards, top decks, sub decks, completes. His collection of completes is pretty rad. He’s got a variety of top deck shapes paired with corresponding sub decks. It’s like he has a board for every personality and each one has a story.

Parkore 1Kurt and Jill are most excited about changes to the 2016 Parkore, their park skate.  It’s totally reengineered. It’s got a Snowskate specific deck made of 7 ply hard rock maple, laid up with poly resin. They changed how the top deck and sub interact by developing their “skate flex contour” tech which means that the top deck and sub have parallel contour. The idea here is to make the set-up ride more like a skateboard. They just published on their Facebook page that this Snowskate complete comes in at 7.2 lbs.

Parkore 2Kurt also let me in on some tech he’s working on for release in spring 2016. Basically it is selective edging (not pictured).  Edges start at the trucks and continue up through the flex of the tip and tail. They call it “hot wheels.” The idea here is for the board to have edge control on the snow, but increase board control on rails and boxes.

Best way to get more info from Kurt is to reach out on Facebook or email at minus7boards@gmail.com.

They told me their website will be up to date by mid November so keep checking in over there too!

With the first snow in Tahoe, Snowskate companies knee deep in production, and Snowskate media crowding our news feeds, the scene seems to be blowing up. Oh wait, that’s bad right?  No way, it’s just some Snowskate stoke. It’s rad. And I wanna thank Kurt and Jill for taking some time to share some stoke with ProjectSnowskate.

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Welcome to fall.  The days are getting shorter, the air is getting crisper, beanies are getting dug out of the closet one by one, your flip flops finding their way to the bottom of the shoe pile, and you break up with your summer boyfriend and hit up a winter one for the first time in months…oh, just me?

Anyway, the other thing that happens in fall is we see our first glimpses of snowskate media after what seems like an eternity.  So, for ProjectSnowskate.com‘s first post after a long summer (preceded by a lack luster winter), I thought I’d share some of the snowskate media I’ve been glued to this preseason.

First of all, shout out to Hovland Snowskates, for consistently trickling snowskate stoke all summer on their Instagram feed.  If you aren’t following, you should be.

The first preseason edit I noticed was Eric Debruyne‘s, this one was rad because it included backyard and terrain park riding on his Ralston, but also a little powder surfing on his Grassroots Powder Surfer.

CLEAR. from eric julio on Vimeo.

Then Ande Burman‘s Predog edit from the end of last season started getting shared a bunch on social media, and that was just urban money shot after money shot.   I’d put money down that this kid can stomp huge flip tricks in his sleep.

I’ve seen new product ads drop from Hovland, Landyachtz, Minus 7, and Icon.  And a trailer for an Ambition Snowskate Video premiering November 7, 2015.

A few days ago, Frank Crippen gave an update on the upcoming year’s Snowskate Olympics and Strapless Week.


However, my favorite preseason snowskate media I’ve seen so far has got to be Terje‘s Instagram edit of the snowskate parts in his most recent video project Balance.  I don’t have the skills to embed an Instagram post.  But you can view it here.  And this one gets better: a few hours later Tony Hawk shared Terje’s snowskate clips on his Instagram. Talk about powerful snowskate ambassadors.  This sort of snowskate exposure gets me super excited because the more world class athletes promote snowskating, the more it is legitimized.  As snowskating becomes more recognized and understood, resorts that discriminate against snowskaters will become fewer and fewer.


So, those were my faves.  Did I miss any? What snowskate media has YOU glued to the computer screen?

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Landyachtz is on the Scene

LY SNOW2LY Snowskates has been hard at work (and play) over the past few months.

They have been ramping up production in their wood shop. They launched their website (ly-snow.com), Facebook and Instagram, and have been doing demos and group rides at Cypress, their local mountain.

On February 2nd and 3rd they will be at Copper Mountain in Colorado demoing snowskates at the SIA On Snow Demo. If you are planning to make it to that, be sure to come by their tent and try one of their snowskates!

LY SNOW3LY Snowskates are hoping to get a demo going at Mt. Baker in the next couple months as well.

Credible sources tell us they’ve got some new stuff in the works as well for next season. Word is that they are currently designing and prototyping a powder-oriented sub-deck and a powder surfer.

More info coming soon!


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Snowskate Hawaii – Check

Crossed a little somethin’ off my bucket list this month. Packed up my Snowskate and headed to Hawaii in hopes of some snow on Mauna Kea (since we ain’t got none here in Tahoe.) The top of Mauna Kea was covered before my flight left the mainland and webcam images were showing soft, fluffy, foot deep snow!! I even switched out my Ralston team 35″ for the Ralston standard 41″ at the last minute anticipating deeper conditions (I mighta even brought my powski but it wouldn’t fit in my bag.)

Made a lap around the whole mountain!

Made a lap around the whole mountain!

Anyhow, first thing we did was head up the the mountain. Got to the visitor center at 9000 some feet and met a road closed sign, 2 cops, and a ranger. “Too icy. No go more further, Hun.”

We expected this, I’d been on the phone with the road condition hotline all the way up the mountain. I have to tell you, I was pretty persuasive. “We’re from Tahoe, we drive in bad road conditions all the time! (Didn’t mention we’ve been dry for…whatisit…4 years now?) I got my 4wd, I’m ready to cruise. Lemme up, we’ll lend a hand with snow removal.”

“Sorry lady.”

“Wait a second. You guys know what a Snowskate is?” *Blank stares.* “Hold on a second! Lemme show you this! Ok check it out, ever seen one of these? It’s like a skateboard but it’s for snow!” I had ’em pretty hooked by now. But they still weren’t budging on letting me through. This is where I get pretty shameless folks.

“Hey, since you all haven’t ever seen a snowskate, I know you haven’t heard of me. But I’m Kendra Wilson, I am one of the top ranked women snowskaters in the world. I came all the way from Tahoe to be the first person to ever snowskate this mountain!”

“Are you for real? Is this a real sport? Like recognized and stuff”

“Yeah yeah yeah! Check it out online, ProjectSnowskate.com

“Alright, lemme get your picture for my daughter.” I’m taking pictures with these guys, throwin shakas, schmoozing and whatnot. So then I ask again.

“Right on, so can we go up?”


Oh I skipped a part. My brother and sister went in to talk to the ranger to ask about skiing the mountain, this is while I was schmoozing. This ranger guy told them this, “you will die.” So they are now all white faced and like “oh I donno about this…”

Anyway, at this point my crew, who is only mildly interested in snowskating, is getting impatient and fearing for my life. So we go get some siamin, go back to camp, and hit the beach the next few days until we get word that the road is opening.

Ok, past the cops now, lemme tell you about this road. It is mild. Paved almost the whole way, and BONE DRY by the time the road is open. We get to the top and I gotta say it’s radical up there. Blue bird day, highest I’ve ever been in my life! (I think.) 13,796′

IMG_0805But this snow, bro. It’s firm! Haha. Iced up ridiculously! Whatever, snowskating Hawaii!!

Totally an experience! Wish we had more time up there to get a track going, but best case scenario it woulda softened up a bit, coulda got a couple fun runs on a grooved in track, then we woulda been riding on lava rocks. Coverage was thin!

I got a dozen or so laps, (hiking was a B at this altitude)!  My sister even laid down a turn! We both missed all the rocky pukas, so it was pretty much an epic day!

Whatever, Snowskating Hawaii!! Aloha.

Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa above the clouds as we left.

Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa above the clouds as we left.

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RIP – A Salute to Fellow Rippers

I have a heavy heart writing this post.  I don’t personally know the three snow riders that lost their lives in avalanches yesterday.  But, I feel a strong camaraderie with fellow snow enthusiasts, and I see that camaraderie throughout the industry.  Regardless of what we ride, we all ride on snow.  We all get butterflies in our stomachs at the first snow fall and atop a steep fresh drop in.  We share that stoke.  But, we also share in the loss when something like this happens.  I can only imagine what the people closest to those lost are going through right now.  My condolences to the families of…

LIZ Liz Daley a snowboarder, professional climber, and mountain guide from Washington who died in an avalanche outside of El Chalten, Argentina on Monday. Daley’s sponsor Eddie Bauer wrote a touching statement about her which can be read here.

skierAndreas Fransson a skier, writer, and mountain guide from Sweden living in France who died in an avalanche on Mount San Lorenzo on the border of Chili and Argentina on Monday.  Andreas is a thinker, and he has left us something to think about.  A year ago Powder.com reported, “he is most proud of the runs he didn’t take, because backing off is harder than dropping in.”

no skies

JP Auclair a ski legend, co-founder of Armada Skis and Alpine Initiatives, and recreational snowskater from Canada who died alongside Andreas in the avalanche on Mount San Lorenzo yesterday.  All.I.Can Director Dave Mossop gave this man about the best compliment he could receive according to The Globe and Mail: “He represented the most wonderful qualities a human could have.”

Thanks to Travis Atkins, I’m able to share the video below which has a couple flat deck snowskate shots of JP beginning at 2:15.


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