Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mountainboarding & High Ground Mountainboard Park

When the snow melts and our boards get that last coat of storage wax, we constantly think of ways to get better for next season. Some people surf, wakeboard, or skateboard to keep those snow skills in tune, but there’s a sport that is getting bigger and bigger every year and that sport is mountainboarding. I recently got my hands on a mountainboard and it’s been an exciting, yet sometimes painful thrill ride ever since. I had never set foot on a mountainboard till a few weeks ago and I’ve been addicted ever since. For those of you who are not familiar with the sport, a mountainboard is basically an oversized skateboard deck with inflatable tires that enable you go to through dirt, gravel, and grass, making it the ultimate all-terrain board sport. When riding a mountainboard, I highly suggest using a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and yes, you will get dirty! Dirt is not quite as forgiving as snow, so be prepared for a few falls the first few times. There are several different brands of mountainboards and most have different categories depending on what type of riding style you want. You can choose from boards designed for carving, racing or bombing the hill, park or freestyle riding, and everything in between… much like snowboarding. Some boards even come with brakes to help you learn the basics without getting out of control.

The resort I work at in the winter, Ski Beech in North Carolina, is now home to the High Ground Mountainboard Park. Built by Ground Industries, the park is one of the only mountainboard specific parks in the southeast and brings people from all around to test out their skills on the dirt. With 2 jumps, a hip, 2 log slides, 2 drops, and 2 wall rides, the park is aimed mostly toward intermediate and advanced riders. Since I’m a beginner, I stick mostly to carving on wide open grassy hills and rarely venture into the park. In time, I have faith that I will be doing 360’s and grabs with ease to help me stay in shape for the snow season.

Mountainboarding is a good cross-training sport for snowboarding because it uses many of the same muscles as snowboarding and helps with balance. Spins and grabs are popular among mountainboard riders, which keep those park skills in check till the snow starts to fall again. If you’re looking for an adrenaline packed downhill thrill ride after the snow melts, mountainboarding is a sport you should definitely check out!

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