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Letter to the Editor – Nick

I just received this letter from Nick in Australia. I love it because here in the US, we are knee deep in summer. It’s nice to get a refreshing reminder that winter isn’t GONE, it’s just on vacation, visiting friends down south, and it’s sure to return soon. I love that Nick has such a minimalist approach to snowskating. I love that he is sharing it with is family, and also acting as an ambassador with his local ski resorts. I love all the support he’s received from Snowskate companies and networks. Please read and enjoy, and if you have a cool snowskate story, please email me! KendraWilsonNV@gmail.com

Hi Kendra,

Firstly, thank you so much for project snowskate, the videos, links, information and stories you have provided have inspired me and my family’s foray into snowskating and it is a much appreciated and unanticipated joy for us.

Our humble story starts in 2012 when my family of 5 were holidaying in the Victorian Alps in southern Australia. We fashioned a very primitive DIY snowskate out of a 40″ homemade plywood longboard with trucks and wheels removed and waxed epoxy base. We were visiting a very quiet and closed cross country ski area about 2 hours from our home. We walked up to the snow line and used out boots to stamp out a chute on a small slope in a clearing for our somewhat unstable and violent invention. We spent all afternoon riding and softly crashing in our DIY snowskate park. (I don’t think we actually had a name for it then)

We wondered if what we were doing was actually “a thing” and found lots of info, initially on Silverfish, your site and snowskaters.net about real snowskating. In 2013 we managed to return to the same cross-country ski venue at the start of the season (again closed due to lack of snow) and tackled the gentle slopes on a old Premier single deck and a prized Ralston standard bideck. The Premier was found locally and the Ralston was imported. Both were sniped Ebay bargains. My kids are 9, 12, 16 years old and with their friends they had a fantastic time just staying on for a stretch of about 50 feet sharing the two boards between the five of them and their Dads. Later that season we visited a few other cross country resorts with practice slopes for the skiers. We also spent a glorious week in late September, after the snow season had closed, at the Mt Buller Alpine Resort, where the snow had melted sufficiently to use our vehicle as a makeshift ski lift on the resort roads (normally closed to the public), while riding what was left of the man made snow on our Premier and Ralston. “best fun ever” was the agreement from all of us.

During the summer of 2014 with no obvious retail source of Snowskates in Australia, I managed to pick up 2 Libtech 39″ subs on sale from the U.S. by using an expensive third party shipping service and also spotted a pre-loved very old world industries 34″ sub locally on Ebay. I picked up some great matching trucks and grip from Jim Spiers at Predog. Jim had great advice and was more than happy to send a package internationally to us through customs with reasonable freight, which was great. We then located some decks and assembled 3 extra snowskates for our quiver for the 2014 season.

Now there is a skate each, with the Ralston being coveted by my 16 yo son, the Premier being assigned to my adventurous wife and the other 3 bi-decks being shared between me and my strong and independent daughters. (I told I am the natural pair for the shorter world industries sub as it is the most unstable and I bounce.)

In March, I was offered a US work trip to San Francisco and thanks to Jim’s advice managed to sneak up to South Tahoe and although suffering from a badly timed head cold, did venture out to watch about an hour or so of the Ralston Cup. Was blown away with the amazing performances and also very impressed by the inclusiveness of the event and the visibly positive experience for all involved. Hoping one day to come back for a longer stay with the whole family.

In May, I contacted all the local ski resorts here by email including a link to your great Mythbusters
video on youtube and asked about their policy on snow skating and lifts. So far only one resort has ruled it out, with no response from the others after a few reminders. Unperturbed, we spent a week in the Victorian High Country in early July with great early season snow at some quieter spots away from the resorts. We also discovered by accident that one of the smaller resorts near by, Mt Buffalo had closed its lifts due to fire and lack of reliable snow in 2009. On arriving at the old ski field we had found the perfect location to hike on some decent open slopes and we started to develop some speed requiring a level of quickly learned control. Even better than the “best fun ever”.

So our crew has adopted the name, the Buffalo Snowskaters and have a small Instagram channel with a few pics and videos of our experiences. A buzz for us when Danny Sheehan and Parole Boards liked our pics and vids. Ahh the joy experienced by just a few clicks. We hope we can entice a few other locals into the sport and who knows maybe one day it will be “a thing” here too.

I think there are some reasons why we find for our purposes “non lifted” snowskating Buffalo style is the “best fun ever”:

1. It is maximum fun with minimal investment. All we have need is a patch of snow. In our case, that is snow that nobody else wants except for a few cross country skiers and adventurous tobogganists.
2. The simple enjoyment of the act of sliding uncontrollably down a hill with very little consequences or likelihood of bruises, road/ice rash or bung knees due to ski or board bindings.
3. Lisa Simpson pointed out to my children that cross country skiing “sucks!”, and luckily snowskating without lifts is just as healthy, invigorating and I suspect a tad cool for those young’uns taking their tips from Lisa.
4. I remember as an Alpine skier from an early age, rushing to maximise the time on the snow and get the most use out of ski hire, lift passes and would stress heavily in bad traffic or chain fitting bays, feeling that we were missing out. Our non-lifted snowskate day trip routine is to wake up late, take a leisurely drive and arrive at the snow some time before lunch, hike, ride, hike ride, eat something, hike, ride a bit more until tired then head home when ever we feel like it. So relaxed and very de-stressing.
5. We don’t know any better yet. We haven’t experienced the lifted version because we are not actually allowed to pay the exorbitant lift ticket price and ride the lifts designated for skiers and snowboarders. I do wonder if the experience will be the same when the local lift companies get real.

So given you are in your summer, thought it might be fun to share a story from winter down under as a small way to thank you and everyone else in the snowskate community for sharing your passion and joy with us on the other side of the world.

Cheers,

Nick and family
http://instagram.com/buffalo_snowskaters. (Will surreptitiously post uncool proud father pics/vids here, if still allowed, once they are discovered by the young’uns :-)
Victoria, Australia

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Letter to the Editor – Tom

I received this letter from Tom Farthing in December, and I just had to share it! His story illustrates how awesome snowskating is and how tight knit the community continues to be. Snowskating will change your life and make you friends! Please read and enjoy, and if you have a cool snowskate story, please email me! KendraWilsonNV@gmail.com

Hi Kendra,

My name is Tom and I’m a recent “board addict”, at 43 years “young”.

Eight years ago, I was in a near fatal mountain bike crash, and feared I may never walk again. Luckily the swelling went down and I wasn’t paralyzed, but as hard as I fought over the years since the accident, it has been a VERY painful experience with many failures(mostly career).

I can’t mountain bike anymore off road as it hurts too much. But last year at age 42 I discovered longboarding….and it radically changed my life. It is a sport I can do all day thanks to the trails being “smooth” and it got me to turn my Facebook on again (was off for 5 years hiding and depressed), got me into doing fundraising events for cancer, donating blood and MOST IMPORTANTLY, making friends again.

I snowboarded for around 15 years, but I haven’t been out since the crash. Well, this year I spotted a snowskate at the local skate shop and was like “HEEEEEEEY what’s this!!!”. I picked one up a couple weeks ago and am beyond excited that I can carry on the longboard feeling all winter!!!!!!

So, I’m rambling and bad for that, feeling VERY HAPPY and excited because last night I got my first turns in on the snowskate!!! The whole point of this message was to thank you for PROJECT SNOWSKATE!!!!!! Your site is the first one I found, and I’m super impressed/happy to have found it. I just read “Ode To Judah“; it made my eyes water.

You represent the sport very well, love the videos and the passion you have for it. The work you put in to “spread the stoke”. It is in longboarding too, and I creepy messaged the “Godfather” of longboarding last year and now we are good friends. To this old NOOB, you are the face of snowskating!!!

Haha I’m nervous and rambling, my apologies. Thank you again for Project Snowskate. I hope you keep updating it; YOU are exactly what this sport needs. You have a great attitude!!

The thing I missed the most, lost in the dark for a few years, was being outside and friends, feel free to FB friend me if you like!! I already got 4 longboarders (also snowboarders) buying a snowskate each this month, and beginning to “spread the stoke“. I was going to join the Snowskaters Network forums today (was waiting until first turns, haha) but I see it is down (FYI – I just logged into snowskaters.net and it worked for me-KW).

Thanks for your time Kendra, hope all is well

Tom Farthing
Red Deer, AB, Canada

Tom

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Legality of Alta Ski Area’s Discriminitory Practices Finally Challenged

Alta

Yesterday, four snowboarders filed a federal lawsuit against Alta Ski Area and the US Forest Service. Alta is one of 3 ski resorts left in the US that only allow skiers on their mountain. The plaintiffs are not asking for monetary restitution for years of discrimination, only for an injunction of the mountain’s discriminatory practices. Because Alta’s ski area is located almost entirely on National Forest Service Land, the US Forest Service was also named as a defendant.

ABC News reported that David Quinney, a part owner of Alta, made this comment in response to the lawsuit. “I’m a skier, always have been. There are skiers out there that appreciate going to a place that allows skiers only.” This comment is obviously narrow-minded, but I found it interesting that if you replaced the word “skier” in his statement with the words “white,” “able-bodied person,” “male,” “straight,” etc., there would be a community outcry against the organization. This kind of discrimination should not be allowed on Forest Service Land, which is why I believe that the plaintiffs will be successful in this lawsuit.

Snowskating is allowed at most ski resorts in the US, but there are many that still restrict snowskating which is also a discriminatory practice against a specific group of people. Resorts like Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Mammoth may find that their discriminatory practices against snowskaters will be challenged not only in social forums, but in the legal system as well.

I have discussed the illegality of ski resorts restricting snowskates from accessing their mountains before, and the implications of the results of this lawsuit will most definitely transfer to snowskating and the restriction of it from ski areas on Forest Service Land (such as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows and MANY more). I’ll be watching the progression of this case, and I’d like to thank the four plaintiffs (Rick Alden, Drew Hicken, Bjorn Leines and Richard Vargas) for their efforts in promoting equal rights on the mountain and wish them luck!

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2013/2014 Gear Guide!

ConstructionThe Gear Guide is currently under construction with changes coming for the new season!  The 2012/2013 Gear Guide is still available to view, but please know that the product and prices may have changed for the new season.  Please keep an eye on ProjectSnowskate.com because the new guide is coming soon, and it’s not to miss!

I’ve just made updates to the Snowskate Friendly Resorts Page, so please visit to see changes.  Thank you so so much to all our readers who notified us of changes in Resort’s policies!

Also, if you have a specific question or topic of interest, please use the search bar at the top of the page.  We have accumulated quite a bit of content, and I’m sure we’ve got answers for you!

Just an example, can't search here!

Just an example, can’t search here!

Stay Tuned!

 

If you are a snowskate company owner, please email me information on your line up. I need prices for completes and pieces, important dimensions, concise description of how the board is meant to ride, and where to buy (website, shop, call in, etc.).

This page makes sales for YOU, so get back to me ASAP.
KendraWilsonNV@gmail.com

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Low Tide Blues… Snowskate Therapy

Here in Tahoe we’ve been hurting for snow. I’ve seen some wonderfully fresh and powdery pictures from other parts of the country, but in Tahoe, we just couldn’t wait any longer and recently celebrated a fresh 4 inches with our brand new powder gear and now are in the garage playing with P-tex.  And, it’s not really looking like we’ve got any more fresh coming real soon.

Weather

Now, I’m all for powder riding and all that.  But, don’t let this low tide early season get you down.

Firstly, we are so lucky to live near resorts like Heavenly and Northstar which have world class snowmaking set-ups. But, even still, they can only open so many runs off their snowmaking, and forget about the trees.

Just today I overheard a skier saying, “I’m so bored of all these runs.” …Ok, so when you are sick of all the runs, go check out the park and add a couple gems to your bag of tricks. Northstar’s park is going off and I mean it. It’s not gonna get better with fresh snow, it is hitting RIGHT NOW.

Bored of the park you say? But, don’t forget, we’ve still got the views! How can you be having a bad day railing turns on groomers looking at this?

Heavenly View
Well, if you are, I really do have the solution for you. Let me let you guess…

Get a snowskate, you grump. Stop being snowBORED and get a skate. Seriously, even during this snow drought, it’s impossible to have a bad time on a snowskate. Everything is just more fun! Just hitting banks and kickers on cruiser runs all day is a blast! Plus, if snowskating is new to you, you’ll be distracted from the poor conditions by learning something new. And, there is plenty of snow to learn. Even if you are an expert, you are gonna have a good time snowskating, it’s just plain true.

Obviously Snowskates are more fun...
So get one, and stop being grumpy.

You’re welcome.

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US Summer Snowskate Open 2013 Recap

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Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

The 3rd Annual US Summer Open of Snowskating went off on July 4, 2013 at Timberline Mt. Hood.  It was questionable if the event was even going to happen after Starfish Magazine posted in June that the event was canceled due to scheduling conflicts with Premier Snowskates and the Windells Camp.  Tim Windell was able to reach out to Danny Sheehan of Ralston Snowskates to make the contest happen.  After two years of Premier Snowskates putting on an extremely fun summer contest, Danny had big shoes to fill to live up to expectations.

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Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

The Ralston Team along with other South Shore and Hood locals, rallied on July 3rd to design and build a snowskate specific course for the event which included 2 rails, 2 boxes, a huge doghouse feature, a dance floor, and 2 jumps.  There wasn’t a rope tow this year, so the course had to be hiked, but it was compact enough that it wasn’t something to complain about.

On contest day, it was interesting to see who showed up.  After the misunderstanding about the event being cancelled, many people made other plans and some staple snowskaters were not there.  The core Lake Tahoe skaters showed in impressive numbers, a couple car fulls of Washington skaters showed up, after some car trouble, the bad asses out of Minnesota rolled in, add a couple Hood locals, and we had ourselves a contest.  Tickets were a discounted $45 on contest day, and registration was $12.

It began around noon, and in an unofficial but seemingly and surprisingly organized manner, the jam moved from feature line to feature line.  The contest started on the jump line.  Some notable boosters were Alan Gerlach, Adrian Rasmussen, Pat Bonser, Mark Spicolli, Pat Daily, Matt Hightower, and Randi Rae.  As expected, the landings didn’t last long and when it was completely done, the jam moved over to the 2 box line.

Alan Gerlach

Alan Gerlach

The first box was slightly down to a STEEP landing, and the second box was slightly up to a flat landing and steepish ride out.  Notables on the boxes were Gerlach, Spicolli,  and Hightower who all solidly sessioned the boxes AND boosted over them clean with  connections to the jump line for full-pull runs.  Stevie Evanson and Shag were working Shuvits off both boxes. And, the girls were getting at the boxes too.

Tandem Air

Tandem Air

Then once the landings were worked, the contest moved to the rail to doghouse line.  This is where the contest was won.  Gerlach pulled front boardslides on the rail, across the coping of the doghouse, and a miller flip over the dog house.  Spicolli also pulled grinds and a clean no footed boneless.  Hightower and Bonser pulled clean grinds across the doghouse, too.

When Danny Sheehan got bored of judging, he jumped on a skate and KILLED it on the doghouse, rails, and jumps.  Gerlach and Rasmussen got creative doing tandem airs on the jump line.  And, that was the contest winding down.  All the participants rode back to the Windell’s Camp for the Awards Ceremony.

Lodging was available for $20 at Windells Camp like the previous years and the entire Camp was open to participants and families, including the skate park, slacklines, dirt jumps, ping pong, tetherball, and all sorts of other stuff to make you feel like a kid.  They even opened the kitchen for a barbeque after the contest.  Money collected from lodging was all donated back as prize money for the contest by Windells.

After a skate jam and barbeque, the results of the contest were given and it shook out like this:

Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

Overall, the Ralston US Summer Open, turned out to be a great success and enough props cannot be given to Ralston and Windell’s for making this event happen on short notice.  Very high expectations for next year considering that way more planning and prep is possible!

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Kirkwood Legendary Banked Slalom 2013 Recap (Snowskate Division- duh)

Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

Photo by Jeff Nokkeo

The Legendary Banked Slalom at Kirkwood took place on April 14, 2013.  This was my first time attending the event but for years I’ve heard that it’s awesome and that Kirkwood takes care of snowskaters, laying down sick trophies, cash, and other prizes.  My expectations were high going in, and I wasn’t let down.

The course was legit. It carved up and down the sides of Snowsnake Gully off Chair 11.  Each participant got 2 runs and the lowest combined time won.  In other words-no throw away run, you had to stick them both.  We were allowed time in the morning to practice, but the gully was a solid ice, death trap.  Many people chose not to take a practice run at all.

The first run for the snowskaters started at about 11:00 AM, and the gully was still rock hard.  Naturally, ladies went first.  Then, the guys had a go at it.  The times for the first run were displayed on a board at the bottom so you knew where you stood after that one.  Billy Bradford had the best time after the first run with Pat Bonser 3 seconds behind, and Matt Hightower 7 seconds behind Pat.

Kirkwood local and snowskate legend, Pat Bonser, has had this event on lock for the past 4 years.  Since there has been a Snowskate Division in the Kirkwood Banked Slalom, he has won it.  And, the entire field was gunning him down.  When Billy beat him in the first run, everyone erupted with chatter, “Pat’s reign is over.” “He’s walking with a limp!  He’s injured.”  “He’s on a new Predog Snowskate; he’s not comfortable on it!!”  “He forgot his wax at home!”  “Pat’s gotta step aside, FINALLY!”

The second and last run started at 3:00 PM, by this time the ice had turned to slush and the line was well worn in.  Ladies again went first each of them improved their times over the first run.  Snowskates can slay on the soft slush.  The guys saw this and knew that this was the run to smoke.  Each guy dropped until it got to the last two: Pat and Billy.  Pat dropped first knowing that he had to make up 3 seconds on top of whatever Billy was able to put up for his second run.  He had a solid drop in, and from the first gate, you could see that he wasn’t holding back.  He was FLYING!  Then, halfway through the course, disaster struck!  He crashed!  He recovered quickly though and didn’t miss his gate.  He sped to the bottom but knew that he had lost it.  Then Billy, knowing he had a 3 second cushion on top of the crash that Pat just had, dropped in. He laid down a solid run.  And, without seeing the times, EVERYONE knew that Billy had it in the bag.

Everyone arrived at the awards ceremony ready to see Billy at the top of the podium.  But first, the snowskate ladies:  There has never before been a female snowskater entered in the Kirkwood Banked Slalom and this year, we put together a field of 4. Go girls! Results:Women

1st Kendra Wilson
2nd Tara Atkins
3rd Becky Gentile
4th Jill Zapata

When the girls stepped down, the men were called:  3rd Place went to Pat “Goblin” Quinn who put up a crazy impressive 2nd run. Then, 2nd Place was called, BILLY BRADFORD!! Crickets.  Then, murmurs, “What the hell?  Who got first then?”

Men1st Place….PAT BONSER!  ERUPTION!!!!! AAHHHHH!  Pat pulled the fastest 2nd run with a fall!  He was on pace with snowboarders’ times before his crash!  Holy crap.  Nutso!! Legend Status: Solidified.

And, the Snowskate Division solidified its place in the contest being the 2nd largest division of 25!  Proving that if you allow them, they will come!

And, that was it!  Yummy Passholder lunch provided by Kirkwood, super fun race, cool people, drama, suspense, rad prizes, awesomeness, MUST GO TO THE KIRKWOOD BANKED SLALOM!!!

Thanks Kirkwood!!

Results

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