Snowboarding Cools as Kids Embrace 'Flat' Skis

Extra-wide skies are easier to manage
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2013 2:15 PM CST
Louie Vito competes in the semifinals of the men's U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Stratton, Vt., on Thursday, March 8, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

(Newser) – People who like whizzing down snowy hills at high speeds are using a new kind of ski and losing interest in the snowboard, the Los Angeles Times reports. Winter sports enthusiasts say snowboarding is too injury-prone and, in powder and flat terrain, difficult to manage—while extra-wide skis are easy to use. "It's interesting where the industry is going now," says the manager of a ski rental shop. With the new skis, "you can ski on a half pipe and land backward just like a snowboarder."

From 1990 to 2004, snowboarding leaped by 340% in the US while skiing slid by 48%—but since then, snowboarding has fallen by 22% as skiing rose by 16%. Analysts say baby boomers have grown up and gotten tired of the bumps and bruises associated with snowboarding, while their kids like following a new fad. Ergo the popularity of shorter "shaped skis," which are easier to navigate and work both forward and backward. But one ski manufacturer says it's all temporary: "I'm sure the pendulum will swing back. I don't see snowboarding going the way of the dodo bird." (Read more skiing stories.)

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