“Tim Miller is a 29 year old rider from Seattle, Washington. He has been Skiboarding for 13 years and feels at home in Northwest terrain parks. When he’s not riding, he enjoys disc golf, skating, and spending time with his wife.”
Skiboarding gets a bad rap. When you ask random people if skiboarding is as good, as fun, or as cool as its counterparts, be prepared to wince a little. Why? People are skeptical that skiboards hold their own against skis and snowboards.
There’s no reason to pull any punches on the subject. It’s a situation born of an innocent blend of ignorance, misinformation and sport ego. It’s not worth wallowing over either: instead, it’s how we react to the situation that determines our future.
If you buy into the idea that skiboarding can and should grow, you’ve got to consider what the terms “good/fun/cool” are based on. Regardless of sport, these factors are determined by equipment performance and aesthetics. Even broader terms such as creative, stylish, exciting, and technical can be traced back to an athletic person that utilizes high-performance equipment with impressive aesthetics.
Skiboard design costs thousands of dollars and requires years of development. Business partners, quality control, distribution… it’s not quite as simple as dreaming up the perfect board on your next chairlift ride. Let’s pass on that and focus on aesthetics.
There are several challenges facing the improvement of skiboarding aesthetics. Given the public’s skepticism, a bad turn, waved arm, or suspect landing may be all that’s needed to solidify their opinion of our sport. Sadly, bad aesthetics also feed the misnomer of bad equipment performance and with one quick move, we are sunk. Even worse, while other sports are popular enough to have many capable athletes displaying good performance and aesthetics each day at a resort, sheer numbers work against us. I could be an awkward, snowplowing twin tip skier and thousands of people would still buy skis this year. Skiing has the luxury of having many other people out demonstrating how good/fun/cool it can be. With skiboarding, it’s often the opposite.
Everyone loses their balance occasionally, and I don’t advocate putting the aesthetics of skiboarding in front of the enjoyment of it. However, there is HUGE room for improvement in the way our sport portrays itself and everyone can make a difference.
Every person can consider themselves a representative of the sport. Just thinking about improving, riding smoothly, looking comfortable, and selecting good lines allows us to present the sport in a better manner.
By far, the biggest challenge falls to our leaders, those in the spotlight. Even more important than the ability to compare to ski/snowboarding’s elite is the ability to influence our community. Don’t pursue aesthetics to take on Shaun White and Tom Wallisch. Improve aesthetics to set the standard for all current and future skiboarders. We deserve to set the bar high for ourselves, don’t we?