Apart from skis, snowboards and classic wodden sledges, there are many fun sports devices to ride down a piste. Fun sport in the snow is the ideal complement to classic skiing pleasure. SnowTrex presents some fun alternatives for a fast downhill run.
A snowscoot is essentially a city scooter for the snow. Instead of the two rollers, the scooter runs on two sliding surfaces which are screwed to an aluminium, steel or carbon frame. With a handlebar similar to that of the conventional city scooter, the rider can move the so called “frontboard” in order to steer the vehicle. Winter sports enthusiasts stand on the rear board, the so called “backboard”, which cannot be moved. With skillful steering and weight shifting, adventurous riders can race down the slopes with a little practice. But snowscoots are not only fun on the slopes. Courageous riders prove their skills on the vehicle in deep snow next to the piste or even in the fun park on kickers and rails. Before going on the slopes with the Snowscoot, you should check whether the ski area permits this. Snowscoot skiers are welcome in the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis ski area or in Les Menuires, for example.
In case you prefer a more comfortable ride, you should try the snowbike. The device, in some places also called skibob or snowcycle, resembles a bicycle, only that instead of the wheels, there are two skis which lie on the piste. They are arranged one behind the other and connected by a small frame that includes a seat and handlebars. On this “snow bicycle” you sit upright and can control the direction of travel with the handlebars. For stabilisation, the driver also wears short foot skis that support the brake swing. There are no proper brakes, so that only a good side turn can bring the bike to a standstill. That needs to be practiced, therefore a riding course or at least a morning on the practice slope is recommended for beginners in order to get the right riding feeling. Once you have got the hang of it, snowbiking is really fun. Snowbike courses are available in the Obertauern ski area, in Flachau in the Salzburger Sportwelt ski area or in the Gastein ski area, for example.
One of the more recent developments when it comes to sledges is the so called “Pistenbock” (piste buck) from Alzenau in Bavaria. Under the motto “We’ll develop the best sledge you could possibly buy”, the company Bock Machining GmbH set itself the task of revolutionising tobogganing. The result was a modern sledge that promises “tobogganing 2.0”.
The steering sled is made of painted wood and robust steel, has a sophisticated front steering, a hand brake and even offers a device for using the lifts. The construction is available in three versions: the 1-seater “Solo”, the 2-seater “Duo” and the “Junior”, which can carry up to 50 kg. You can try out pistenbock in Mayrhofen, for example.
The Skifox has established as a popular fun sport equipment and has been on the market for a little longer by now. It consists of a short carving ski, on which a seat with suspension is mounted. Like this, the Skifox combines the advantages of tobogganing with those of skiing. In addition, there are special “gliders” with a scaled running surface which are strapped to the boots and thus create an additional support and steering function. With the ergonomically shaped seat, the dynamic shock absorber underneath and the side handles, the Skifox is extremely comfortable. While targeted steering requires a little practice (just do not use your upper body), the device can still be used not only for downhill fun, but also serves as a seat in front of the hut or for a short rest. With the Skifox Classic, the Skifox Easy for children over 1.45 m and the Skifox Junior for children over 6 years of age, there is a suitable model for every age group. You can try your hand at the Skifox in the Damüls-Mellau ski area or in the Sölden ski area, for example.
This high-tech sledge is from the USA. The name “Captain Avalanche” goes back to a legend that happened in the Austrian Alps: The children from the mountain villages always went to school there by toboggan – as did little Hans Montafon. One day a mighty avalanche broke down and threatened to bury Hans’ sister. He grabbed her, raced down the slope with her on the toboggan and thus saved his sister from white death. The boy became a hero and from then on was called Captain Avalanche. The company named itself after him as a memento of this heroic deed – and certainly in order to underline the speed such a sleigh can reach. As fast as Hans was speeding down the runway at that time, the high-end toboggan should now also be able to ride – and even faster. For this purpose, the driver lies on the device and controls it solely with his body weight and force. Since high speeds are reached, additional brakes (so called “sled brakes”) on the feet help with controlled stopping. The Captain Avalanche is available in five different colours and two different sizes, weighing 6.5 kg and 11 kg respectively. The length of the front element with the armrests is adjustable to S, M and L on each model. If you would like to try Captain Avalanche, you should check with the relevant ski area in advance for permission.
As an alternative to long boards, winter sports fans can also simply strap short boards under their feet – so-called “snowblades”, also known as “big foot”. These short skis measure barely one meter and are therefore extremely easy to turn. Snowblades or big foot are allowed in all ski areas.
Snowtubing is the best known and most popular fun sport in many ski resorts. One or more persons slide down a tube in a large, air-filled rubber tyre. The position of the rider on the tyre can be chosen individually: Sitting, lying, forward or backward – everything is possible. This is especially fun for children and since the road surface is predetermined, snow tubing is particularly popular with families. There are special pistes for snowtubing in the Zillertal Arena, in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang-Fieberbrunn ski area, in the Seefeld Olympiaregion ski area and in the Winterberg ski area.
Airboarding is similar to snow tubing: An air-filled plastic board with handles that resembles a wide air mattress serves as a base that is controlled by the weight of the body. In contrast to snow tubing, airboarding involves lying on one’s stomach and not in a tube, but on an open piste. Both on the airboard and on “Captain Avalanche”, riding headfirst at high speed provides a special thrill. If you ride over a bump or a small hill with a lot of momentum you may even fly a few meters. Airboarding is not for cautious tobogganists. This sport can be tried out at the Feldberg in the Black Forest or in Davos-Klosters, for example.
The Skwal is a single wide ski on which the bindings are installed one behind the other. This funny device was invented by a French ski instructor in 1992. When skwaling, you can carve extremely well even with a considerable tilt. The Skwal is similar to the Monoski, but the bindings of the Monoski are mounted next to each other rather than behind each other. In contrast to snowboarding, the posture on a Skwal is symmetrical. To make it easier, you can also use ski poles for the first turns since it is not that easy to keep your balance on the Skwal.
This fun sports equipment resembles a snowboard. However, the Snowsnaker consists of two separate boards that are connected with a bridge in the middle. Thanks to the special construction, you can move your legs against each other and thus make even tighter turns than with a conventional snowboard. The two connected boards allow good control over balance and gives you plenty of room to move. According to the manufacturer, the Snowsnaker can also be used well in deep snow, and jumps and freestyle tricks are supposed to be easy to learn. Snowsnakers can be rented in Serfaus, for example.
The Snowdeck is essentially a skateboard for the snow and is also about the size of one. Instead of rollers, it has longitudinal grooves or a so-called “subdeck” under the board, so that winter sports enthusiasts can ride straight ahead. The snowdeck allows all the tricks you can do with a skateboard because it is not connected to the rider by bindings. Like this, it can turn around its own axes during the jump. Kickflips and heelflips in the snow – a fun challenge and extremely cool especially for experienced skaters. To have fun with the snowdeck, you don’t even have to climb a mountain. Even when there is snow in the city, winter sports enthusiasts can perfect their skills on the snowdeck. Snowdecks can also be rented in Serfaus, for example.
Last but not least, a not very serious alternative to skiing or snowboarding: the wok. German entertainer Stefan Raab’s “Wok World Championship” made the toboggan wok famous in Germany. For the less courageous, it does not have to be an ice channel on which the wok is misused. A small slope is enough to have a lot of fun. In winter you can also buy toboggan woks in many ski resorts, however they are not made of metal, but of plastic.
As safe as the snow vehicles may be constructed, we strongly recommend wearing a helmet with all variants! Especially on the devices you use head first and lying on your belly, such as the Airboard or Captain Avalanche, a head protection is indispensable. The FIS-rules also apply to fun sports enthusiasts. Those who observe these safety aspects will have maximum fun. But where can you try out all these great devices? In most ski resorts there are ski rental shops that have one or more of them in stock. In addition, there are well-equipped fun sports centres such as the New Technology Centre (NTC), which offers a variety of fun equipment to try out. There are NTCs in Oberstdorf and Nassfeld, for example, and special rental stations and courses for fun sports enthusiasts can also be found in many other ski regions, for example in the Silvretta-Montafon region or Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis.
SnowTrex wishes you lots of fun boarding, foxing and sliding!