Snowskating is not a new winter mountain sport, but it is relatively new to Telluride. That’s because not many people are participating. Yet, the snow skating community is growing. If you have skied the Pacific Northwest or Tahoe or other places, you’ve likely seen snow skaters. You might have even wondered, “what in the world is that person doing?” Snowskating is not what others generally assume. Indeed, there are shorter skis that some people use on the mountain, and these short skis are often referred to as “skates”. They make getting around the mountain a little easier than using the big, long skis that more advanced skiers use.
This is not snow skating.
Snowskating is actually done on equipment that looks and acts like a skateboard. But, this snow skate has no wheels obviously. Instead, you’ll find one single ski-like board under it for cutting through the snow. And, as you might be wondering, there are no bindings. That’s right. Snowskating is done with the feet completely free. Snowskaters are not bound to their skate. Sound complicated? It is. But, really it’s just an exercise in mind-body awareness. And, the snow skaters can make it look really easy. Snowskaters wear waterproof sneaker type shoes for snow skating, and these can be purchased at Vans online. Don’t forget the leash. You’ll want to make sure your snow skate does not fly down the hill on its own when you fall. And many experts tend to wear extra padding. That’s because of snowskaters, even the best, fall a lot.
Snowskates themselves can be purchased online, but you will need advice in discerning what to buy. Like snowboarding or skiing, the snow skates themselves can vary in length and shape. And like other equipment, the snow skates require tunes so that the edges stay sharpened up for the mountain. This is not a sport that one can master on a spring break week. In fact, it takes dedication and many days of practice on the mountain. You will not really find lessons either. Snowskating is a sport that one must refine through trial and error, starting with the beginner runs and then advance. Does it help if one has already skateboarded and done well with that? Maybe.
But riding a snow skate is different than riding a regular skateboard on the pavement. There are different obstacles, skiers and snowboarders to watch out for, and varying conditions. Long-time local Rusty Scott is the resident pro in Telluride. He’s been snow skating for something like 15 years. You’re likely to see him sailing down the hardest runs in Telluride off of chair 9- bumps and all. But, he didn’t start there. He started on the easiest slopes, and it took him a few years to get where he is. When asked what he likes about his sport, he says, “the freedom- not being attached to the board. You have to be totally focused and balanced, and it’s like surfing. It’s a flow. And it’s about being in the present moment.”
If you have the interest and patience in trying to snow skate, see videos online. There is quite a sub-culture. And, when in Telluride, see Rusty Scott on Chair 9.