Discover the Thrill of Monoskiing

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Discover the Thrill of Monoskiing

October 17, 2012 by  
Filed under features

With ongoing advances in snowsport equipment, monoskiing has been making a comeback in recent years, with supporters of this exciting sport highlighting the benefits of gliding down a slope with both feet on one board. Unlike snowboarding, monoskiing has feet side-by-side pointing in the direction of the board and ski poles are generally used. Standard ski bindings can be used, or monoboarders can make use of non-releasing bindings such as those used on snowboards and skwals.

The monoski used today is somewhat different from the first known monoski invented in 1961 by Jack Marchand, and patented by him in 1964. Today’s monoski was inspired by surfing and was promoted by surfing champion Mike Doyle in the 1970s and 1980s. Monoskiing started to lose ground as a sport when snowboarding became more popular. However, the two sports are actually quite different, and monoskiing is regaining popularity among snowsport enthusiasts. While the general feeling among non-monoskiers is that the sport is much more difficult than skiing or snowboarding, monoskiers will tell you that this is not the case, with many who have taken to the sport preferring it to more conventional forms of snow skiing.

Most often referred to as a sit-ski, a molded seat mounted on a metal frame is attached to a monoski offer the opportunity for people who have lost the use of their lower limbs to experience the thrill of snow skiing. A shock absorber positioned beneath the seat facilitates a smoother ride as well as assisting in maximizing ski-snow contact when turning. For extra stability the monoskier makes use of outriggers – a forearm crutch with a short ski on the bottom. Monoskiing in this fashion does not necessarily restrict the skier to the groomed slopes, as experienced monoskiers tackle terrain parks, race courses, moguls and backcountry terrain.

There has been much trial and error in developing sit-skis, with the earliest form in the late 1970s consisting of fiberglass sleds fitted with metal runners. These proved to be rather clumsy, restricting skiers to intermediate terrain. By the mid-1980s both Europe and Canada were working on new technology and in 1984 monoskiing featured as a demonstration sport at the Innsbruck Paralympic Winter Games, with the 1988 games seeing the sport advance to full medal categories. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of innovative snow sport enthusiasts, more people than ever before can enjoy the thrill of skiing.