By Jerson Hatch
Unless you don’t get out much, you’ve probably seen people racing down roads, mountains or grassy hills on what looks like a cross between a snowboard and a large-wheeled, aggressive skateboard. You can see everything from beginners learning to turn or carve down a slightly inclined hill, to advanced riders practicing jumps, spins (rotating 180 or 360 degrees in the air) and grabs (reaching down and grabbing the board while jumping) on rough terrain or dirt courses.
Mountainboarding is essentially snowboarding, but is done on anything but snow. This new all-weather, all-terrain sport is gaining widespread recognition in the United States, and all across the globe. It encompasses skills from snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking and skateboarding, and is a great way to stay in shape for snowboarding during the off-eason.
The great thing about mountain-boarding is that it’s relatively easy to learn and has a fairly low start-up cost. You can purchase a mountain board at a local sporting goods store, a mountain board dealer or online. Expect to pay $150 for an entry level board with a brake system and around $500 for an expert downhill board. As any true mountainboarder will tell you, do not forget your safety gear. First, you’ll need a helmet, plus elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards, eye protection and preferably gloves. You can also get hip pads and a back pad for added safety.
Once you have all your gear, head to the nearest grassy hill. All you need is a five degree slope to begin mountainboarding. You can mountainboard on almost any surface, including: dirt, grass and concrete, just not deep snow. For most people, it takes about an hour of riding before you are carving back and forth down the hill and building confidence for harder moves. According to MBS, if you have good balance, mountainboarding is much easier to learn than snowboarding.
My first time mountainboarding I tried out the MBS Comp 95 ($399), which is a versatile board suitable for all levels of riders. It’s very maneuverable, but also remains stable at high speeds. The best advice I was given before my first ride came from the MBS Getting Started DVD, “Bend your knees, visualize and commit!” With that advice, try out this sports and see what it’s like to enjoy the mountain slopes all year long! Learn more about mountainboarding and get riding tips on the MBS Mountainboards’ website. mbs.com