Aviation and Snowboarding Shouldn’t Breed
Now when it comes to wacky snow ideas here’s two things that should never be cross bred, snowboarding and hang gliding. But yes unfortunately someone has felt the urge to mix these two and create what could possibly be one of the deadliest things to get on snow since ski blades. Sadly though this was not created in the vast nether region of horrible ideas Bro Cal, but alas it belongs to our friends in the great white north, Canada. To get a better understanding of what a Hangboard is there’s this great little video below.
Now does anyone see any similarities between this and the Skeleton event in the Olympics? Going downhill at a fast rate of speed head first? This just sounds like a recipe for disaster even if someone can pick up the basics in an hour and it does include a roll bar. Plus lets think about the true average snow sports participant here. They’re usually on vacation, get about 5 to 7 days to do it in and of course they horribly suck at it. So now we’re giving them a snow sliding vehicle that could potentially get them up to 100 kph and unleashing them on a slope with other people with similar abilities?
Here’s the real question what happens on a pow day when you get stuck face down and can’t unlatch your harness? Or do you just avoid powder days because you know no one likes those, the weather just ruins those fresh corduroy groomers!
Upon checking out their frequently asked questions on their site I noticed a few gems.
Safety has been the prime focus of our designing and testing right from the start. In our experience, it is no riskier than skiing or snowboarding. Hangboarding gives control to the rider because he has brakes that are instantly available and easy to use; the rider is closer to the snow, with less distance to fall; and he is partially surrounded and protected by the rig. Being closer to the snow you have a perception of greater speed which means the average pilot is satisfied to cruise at lower speeds. In two full seasons of full time riding, we’ve had no serious injuries. We do require that all hangboarders wear a helmet.
Brakes? What Brakes? I see handle bars, a rig, and a human carcass. Lower to the snow and faster rates of speed, why I think we just found snow sports Corvair, yes that car Ralph Nadar called unsafe at any speed.
Essentially, you just lie down on your side in the snow. You don’t slide very far, because the handlebars and rudders etc. stick into the snow and act like brakes. You can push yourself upright with a hand or elbow. We’ve crashed when trying tricks or cruising at high speeds and rolled right over. In this case, the upper bar works like a roll cage, protecting the rider.
Oh there’s the brakes it’s your handle bars which you should be holding on to with a death grip from hell in the event you’re about to eat shit and die!
As far as loading and unloading go this is what they recommended:
If you’ve just been riding, then first, unclip yourself from the HangBoard. Walk to the loading zone with the HangBoard facing backwards and sliding alongside you. As the chair comes up from behind, sit down and hook the boom (picture needed) over the seat. As the chair lifts out of the loading zone, continue to hold and steady the HangBoard with your hands on the boom. Once the chair is moving along smoothly, you should be fine to let go of the HangBoard and let it hang from the chair independently.
As the chair approaches the ramp, take hold of the boom with two hands. Prepare to lift the HangBoard up and set it down on the ramp. Place one foot onto the keel and with your hands still on the boom, push off and slide down the ramp. It’s a bit like pushing a skateboard down a ramp except you have something to hold onto for extra balance.
Anyone else think the chair lift is going to be stopping a lot more on days these things are in use? Frankly I’d rather see someone go to push off like it’s a skateboard slip and nut themselves, it would be more amusing than that skier from Alta that couldn’t use a rope tow.
So if ski bikes were once the bastard cousins of the snow sport world then this thing has to be that creepy uncle that was just released from the psyche ward. Are any of you brave enough to try this thing out? So who has hesitations about these things being on the slope with you?