FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
What’s the big deal about snowblades?
Snowblades are incredibly easy to learn (one to two runs is average), most people don’t need lessons as it feels so natural, especially if you have skills in roller blading, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, hockey, even dancing, etc. It is a natural cross over. (We do recommend that total beginners and newcomers to the slopes take lessons however so they know how to get on and off the lift). But most important, they are a blast from the first day and provide the freedom and control to do whatever you want and go wherever you want on the mountain. That’s what snowriding is supposed to be all about – fun and total freedom!
What are Snowblades? Are they just short skis?
Snowblades come in varying lengths and widths. Some are narrower than others. The more narrow width feels more like short skis and are a blast! They are excellent for skiers who are converting and allow for short, fast turns. The wider Snowblades are constructed like snowboards and carve on edge like snowboards. You might say it is like having two small snowboards on your feet. This means to carve, you lean and the side cut of the snowblade does the work. Wider snowblades will handle deep powder more effectively, allow for better tricks, carve better turns and be more stable with increasing speed. Length of snowblades varies and choosing the proper length depends on personal preference as well as height and weight.
With many snowblades, the width is usually the same at the tip and tail so you can ride front and back at the same level. Ski Blades vary from about 75cm to 143 cm in length, are generally constructed with a solid wood core and varying parabolic shapes, just like snowboards. Ski blades, being much shorter are often easier to manuever out of potentially troublesome situations. Ski boots (poles unnecessary) and the desire for pure outrageous fun are all you need!
How does snowblading compare to skiing?
Often when skiers in particular get up on snowblades, they try to apply the same principles that they learned for skiing – lean down the mountain over your tips, for example. When skiers apply these strategies, they often comment that there is too much chattering and that they lack control and don’t carve well at speed. However, the stance for snowblading is more like the stance for skating or roller blading – standing up, not leaning over the tips. The effective carving edge for snow blades (in this sense similar to skis) is under your boots. Standing up on snow blades allows them to do their job – the side cuts and flex kick in and you can then have stability and control in carving. It often takes skiers a few runs to realize it isn’t skiing anymore, it is more like skating or even a combination of skating and snowboarding, etc. and thus, they begin to realize the incredible freedom, control and total fun that snowblading offers. The learning curve is extremely short compared to snowboarding or skiing and certainly less painful!
decide which to get?
First of all, all snowblades are fun (much more fun than skiing in the opinion of many and growing). There are however differences between the different brands of ski blades – overall construction, durability, side cut, camber, graphics and of course, overall performance.
Other factors to consider is how high the tips come up in the front and back. If the tips are quite low, this makes it more challenging in deep powder or on days when you have alternating clumps of snow and hard pack. The flex is also something to consider. The stiffer the snowblade, the more weight and lean you need to put into carving. Of course, side-cut factors in here too. Often, the more the side cut, like in snowblades with a deep parabolic cut, the easier it is to carve turns.
One way to choose depends on what you plan to do on your snowblades. Do you want to try tricks and jumps in the terrain parks, do moguls or glade runs, or lay out some mean carves on the groomed runs? Do you want to go where no one has gone before, into unmarked territory, deep snow or get dropped off by helicopter in the middle of nowhere? If you want to go into unmarked territory, jam through deep powder (don’t we all) and love speed, the 99cm to 125cm snowblades are a good choice as well as going for wider snow blades.
The 75cm – 99cm range is better for moguls, trees and playing on the open runs.
90cm and even longer is often preferred for those getting big air & doing tricks, so consider the 90-120cm range (though many people prefer using the shorter boards for many kinds of tricks also).
Your height and weight can also be a factor. Typically the longer the snowblades, the faster they go and the more stable they are at high speeds. This assumes you have some weight and height behind it of course. These are personal matters.
At SnowbladesOnline.com we make it a point to try all of the snowblades on the market so that we can communicate the differences to you. Yes, we know it is a hard job to be on the mountain all the time, but that’s our job! Some brands of snow blades we just don’t sell because either they are of poor quality, or just don’t perform. Or perhaps they are good quality, but overpriced for what you get. Feel free to call us to discuss the different features of any of the snow blades on the market. Being snowbladers ourselves, we can definitely help you choose the snow blades that are best for you. Hey, it’s on our dime – Call 800-784-0540!
Why use leashes?
Leashes are required by all the resorts if you are using non-release bindings. The reason is that if your snowblades get away from you, they won’t go flying down the mountain. The snowblades with non-release bindings that we carry all include leashes. Other snow blades mounted with standard step-in release ski bindings do not need leashes as they come with brakes to stop them from getting away from you on the mountain.
About Boots and Bindings:
Hardshell snowboard boots?
Snowblade bindings are made to fit regular ski boots and hardshell snowboard boots and fit sizes from about 3 to 13. We can make some adjustments to allow up to size 14 with some ski boot brands and also we carry larger size bindings for those with sizes up to 15. You don’t really need special “snowblade boots”, however we feature “snowblade” boots on our website since we feel these are truly the best for snowblading. Your regular boots will do as long as they don’t force your knees into a forward lean position too much. Telemark boots also fit some ski blade bindings as long as there is a lip in the front and back enough for the metal clip to secure the boot to the binding. Even certain mountaineering and climbing boots work with snowblades so you can go backcountry snowblading.
Will snowblades fit soft snowboard boots?
Many snowblades come with inserts for mounting snowboard bindings. We recommend using our Technine Custom Pro Snowboard Bindings or Ph711S as they both have 3 buckles for better performance. You will need to add risers under the bindings though for added clearance space when laying over those carves. We offer the latest Technine Custom Pro Bindings with Riser Kit that fits Snowjams and Summits. This allows for performance that rivals any regular ski bindings.
What about “Snowblade” boots?
We are pleased to offer select “snowblade” boots that we have determined will work best for snowblades. Visit our snowblade boot section. These are all high quality, great performance boots and will fit all snowblade bindings. Most come with a Thermoflex lining for a custom fit, ensuring a great fit every time! While regular ski boots work fine, we consider the boots that we carry to be the ultimate for snowblading and its particular requirements.
Ski boots are a very personal matter – it can make the difference between a really great day and a bad one if your feet are hurting from uncomfortable boots. It is extremely important that your boots are comfortable. When you buy the boots we carry, first put them on and stand in them and walk around a little while to make sure that they really fit your feet. As long as you don’t wear them outside or get them dirty or scratched, you can exchange them for another size if you need to.
How should my ski boots fit for snowblading?
Boots need to be comfortable which means for snowblading, since you stand up rather than lean forward, you want to make sure first that your toes are not cramped in the front. Second, some boots, particularly more advanced ski boots, force your knees forward assuming you will be leaning forward like on skis. Great workout for the thighs, but not all that comfortable a position. Intermediate range boots seem to work best and especially boots with adjustments such as walk mode, soft or hard ski settings. Hardshell snowboard boots are usually the best ride for most snowbladers as they offer more adjustments and more upright stance than regular ski boots. Ultimately, you want boots that fit your feet though and this you need to find out by walking around in them, unless you are going with the custom fit Thermoflex liners. These fit your feet from the first day which is why we chose them as a featured product and feel comfortable selling them over the internet.
Ski shops are not usually up on the new sport of snowblading so they often try to fit your ski boots as they would for skiers. This means they will want your toes to be touching the front of the boots, assuming that you will be leaning forward and thus your toes will move back from the front of the boots. It will be up to you to decide how you want them to fit. Also, make sure that your heel doesn’t slip in the back, in other words, the heel needs to be secure and stay put when you move, not keep rising up from the back of the boot.
How do snowblade bindings adjust to my boots?
Basically, with non-release bindings, the lip in the back of your boots fits under the back metal bale making the back of your boots secure and the front toe lever tightens over the front lip and clamps over your boot to hold it in place. With release bindings, adjust the binding to your boot size and they should just click in – put toe in first and then click down on the heel until secure. Make sure with release bindings that you have your DIN set by a local shop to make sure it releases when it should.
Can I put my own ski bindings on snowblades?
Yes. You can put your own ski bindings or snowboard bindings on most snow blades that we sell but you may need to redrill your boards. We can also affix release bindings to your snowblades. Call us for more information.
If I don’t ski, how long will it take to learn snowblading?
Most people learn how to snowblade within a few runs and from there, the learning curve accelerates quickly. Snowblading is much easier to learn than skiing or snowboarding. You can start having fun from the first day.
What if I’m a skater or roller blader?
Wait till you try this! You’ll be jamming! The skills totally transfer to the snow, like roller blading on the snow. You will also be great, right from the first day, no kidding!
Do I need tips, lessons, or instruction on these?
It can always help to have tips or learn from others, but in general, most people don’t get lessons to learn snowblading. It takes very little time to get the feel of snowblading and from there, it is subject to what you want to try next. Remember, it’s a whole new sport and you are on the leading edge, creating the future of snowriding.
What about poles?
You can use poles, but most snowbladers find that they just get in the way and are unnecessary. Poles are typically used by skiers to make turns. You don’t have to restrict yourself to ski turns on snowblades however.
What about helmets?
As with any sport where there are potential obstacles/accidents such as other skiers, trees, etc. We strongly advise wearing helmets. After all, it is cheaper than an emergency room visit. It also keeps your head warm and you can wire it for sound.
What else do you need for snowblading?
You need wax! With the short planks, wax makes sure you glide down the mountain easily. It also helps to have a carry bag to protect your boards. Make sure that you have good fitting snowblade boots. Again, a helmet is advisable.
What wax do you recommend?
After trying many kinds of wax, we have found a number of brands that we like ourselves and therefore sell as being best for snow blades. First is a tune kit – a must unless you want to be dependent on ski shops. Hot waxing is easy. Next, if you don’t want to do that – try wipe on waxes like our High Velocity Wipe On Wax. We also recommend Zardoz NotWax as an excellent top coat or for those who just didn’t have the time to wax that day. Wax protects the bottoms from the elements and allows the skiboards to excel when the snow is heavy.
What about ski shop tune ups?
If you decide to get your boards tuned in a ski shop, make sure that they tune them like they would snowboards rather than skis. However, snowblades are very easy to tune yourself. For instance, we sell the Skiboards.com tune kit with all you need to care for your boards. Our kit makes it easy to tune your boards yourself with easy instructions.
What is a sintered base?
Sintered bases are made up of masses of tiny particles compressed together, kind of like what you can do with wet sand. These particles are hard by nature and get harder in the compression/fusion process. This makes a sintered base very hard wearing and resistant to knocks etc. the down sides are that they are porous, so need regular waxing, especially hot wax which penetrates, expensive, and also quite hard to repair. When properly prepared they are very fast, but then so is an extruded base when also properly set up with wax. The wax stays on sintered for longer, because it penetrates, but when it is worn off, they ain’t quite so good!
When all the wax is gone, an extruded base is maybe a bit better than a sintered base in the same condition. Extruded bases are way easier to repair too.
Don’t feel you have an inferior product because the base is extruded. In some ways it is a more practical solution to a difficult problem.
Yes however you will need to either go to a local shop and have 4 inserts put into the snowblades. This will provide the strength you need to make sure the bindings don’t pull out from the snow blades.
SnowbladesOnline.com accepts exchanges as long as the snowblades are not used. We know it is sometimes hard to really picture what the snowblades will actually look like from the website, so when you get them if you decide you might want another pair, call or email us and we can make arrangements.