The humble garden shed and garage. Home of power tools, spare pieces of carpet, Xmas presents we hated but still thanked you for and most importantly…. the birth place of crazy inventions!
From spice racks and rickety tables to the wind-up radio and even the jet engine, all are products of mankind’s special relationship with the shed. Snow sports are no different and we’ve seen some of the following creations over the decades with mixed success:
- The snurfer – Originally conceived by Sherman Poppen in 1965 and considered by many to be the forerunner for what Jake Burton and Tom Sims developed into the snowboard. I think we can all agree that turned out pretty well.
- Snowblades – Short dumpy versions of skis, openly mocked worldwide unless it is either a) gaper day and you’ve been enjoying a few beers responsibly in a retro suit or b)…… well I can’t honestly think of another time it’s OK to be seen on blades and especially with poles!
- The Snowskate – Popular in the early noughties and essentially a skateboard for snow. The scene still exists with comps held in the States this past season and companies such as Santa Cruz producing boards.So cyclic nature tells us that we were inevitably due a new off shoot in winter sports, and here it is, Dual Snowboards.
So cyclic nature tells us that we were inevitably due a new off shoot in winter sports, and here it is, Dual Snowboards.
In a nut shell Dual Snowboards are small individual snowboards for each of your feet which utilise existing snowboard bindings as the interface. Now I know what you’re thinking as I describe this product mainly because the first time I saw them this was my instant reaction too as lets be fair they do look like tea trays! But nevertheless I was intrigued, so with my open mind in place I took the chance to demo them at The Snow Centre (Hemel Hempstead, UK) following our 1 day freestyle snowboard camps last week.
After strapping in and having my initial freak out that both feet were independent I was greeted by Scott, one of the company owners, who thankfully was on hand to give me a short intro on keeping my groin muscles in one piece.
After being shown how to walk (more important than it sounds) I got stuck into a few bunny hill laps where the main thing I noticed was the need to pedal/foot steer these bad boys. Other riders were demoing Dual Boards that night and really highlighted who had bad technique or relied on kicking their back foot around. So first of all be prepared to use some muscles (front of shins, inside of thigh) more than usual. Other than that the dual boards were surprisingly easy to get to grips with and was riding one footed/throwing a few 180’s/360’s in no time.
Training runs complete I had graduated to Hemel’s main slope which on a Saturday evening is quite the variable environment, showcasing super soft snow piles intermingled with ice patches. This really showed up limitations of the dual snowboards as they quite simply suck on ice, exhibiting all the grip you would expect from such tiny effective edges at work and in deep snow became super slow resulting in me running most of the way. So with techy/turny riding not working so well I ditched the text book in favour of jumping/spinning off anything and everything available which is where things really became fun! Having your feet independent from each other definitely opened up some new options (and potential injuries) to mess around and try daft tricks, think sideways skiing. A couple of local riders were hitting the rail and boxes with some awesome style (see pics) and one of the Dual Snowboards team riders stomped a front flip off the kicker, all very impressive!
SO ARE THEY ANY GOOD THEN?
Granted ‘Duals’ are the board equivalent of snowblades and I wanted to hate them, I really did, but during my 30 minute demo I just had too much fun to end this blog in a negative light! I had a really good laugh but the problem for me is that the brand name contains ‘snowboard‘ so inevitably they are going to be directly compared and the simple fact is Dual Snowboard are not as capable or versatile as a snowboard. The last half of my session really showed that you need to stop trying to ride them technically and merely throw yourself off everything having a laugh, don’t take it too seriously or you might as well be a snowblader with poles!
It’s unlikely I’ll be buying a set and while far from a game changer or snowboard replacement, for an afternoon of the hill or an occasional session at a dome you’ll definitely have a great laugh and highly recommend you give them a demo.
Personally I think dual snowboard rugby/football would be an ace idea!
So who’s tried, loves, hates dual snowboards then? Drop your thoughts below or over on our Facebook page