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

(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."

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)
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