Give Skwalling a Try

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under features

If you’re a regular on the slopes and you’re looking for a new challenge, you might want to give skwalling a try. This unusual hybrid sport combines the carving motion of skiing with the sensation of snowboarding in one unique package. It may take a little effort to master, but it can be a really fun way to spend your winter vacation.

The main piece of equipment used in skwalling is the skwal, a single board which positions the feet one in front of the other in a line down the center of the board, pointing towards the front. Many modern skwals have additional fixtures that make this position more comfortable for the skwal boarder. The position of the feet on the board is different from those found on other boards. On snowboards, for instance, the feet are positioned side-on to the direction of the board while with monoskis the feet are positioned side-by-side and point in the direction of the board. This unusual piece of equipment was the brainchild of two ski-school instructors of French origin – Patrick Balmain and Manuel Jammes. They created their first prototype in 1992 in response to the up and coming trend known as ‘carving’ skis. Their product soon attracted interest from a French company called Lacroix, which later recruited Patrick Balmain and began mainstream production of the novel concept. In time Balmain saw fit to leave Lacroix and begin his own skwal-manufacturing company.

Today skwalling is not yet the popular and wide-spread sport that its creators originally envisioned. It seems that many people automatically assume it will be difficult to use the skwals. However support is growing as more and more people give skwalling a try. If you’re looking for a new challenge you may well want to take up skwalling. There are several companies currently involved in the manufacture of skwals, so all that remains is to strap them to your feet and experiment with the unique sensation they provide. They’ll certainly spice up your annual ski trip and you can be sure that very few – if any – other skiers at your local resort will have chosen to give skwalling a try.