It is clear that snowboarding and surfing have more than a few commonalities, but what about bodyboarding?
So, Do Bodyboards Work in Snow?
If you find yourself presented with a snow slope and only a bodyboard in hand, it is possible to use your board to ski.
That being said, doing so is dangerous, may damage your bodyboard, and won’t work as well as a sled.
Let’s take a deeper look at using a bodyboard in the snow, as well as what alternatives you have.
Can You Use a Bodyboard in the Snow?
All you need to slide down a snow slope is a flat piece of material that can support your body and limit friction.
As bodyboards are made to do just that (except in the water), they will work just fine in the snow. However, you shouldn’t expect a bodyboard to perform in the snow like it does in the ocean.
As your rails won’t be able to dig into the snow sufficiently, you’ll find it very difficult to control the board.
Furthermore, being only inches from the snow will make it both difficult to see as well as to hold onto your board.
That being said, on short rides with gentle slopes, a bodyboard can provide a lot of fun in the snow.
If you plan to use a bodyboard in the snow, you should not attempt to slide down steep hills or dangerous runs.
Remember, although a bodyboard will slide down the snow, it’s still not made for this purpose.
Should You Use a Bodyboard in the Snow?
Deciding whether you should take your bodyboard down a snow slope is, at the end of the day, up to you.
Doing so is more dangerous than using a specifically designed snow sled but is significantly cheaper if you have one lying around.
Using a bodyboard in the snow could damage your board, so if you are a dedicated bodyboarder, it’s best to leave your best boards at home.
There is no reason you shouldn’t use your bodyboard on gentle slopes (if you are happy with the damage risk), but you should avoid any slopes that need navigation or pose higher risks through speeds, jumps, and obstacles.
Pros and Cons of Using a Bodyboard in the Snow
Although bodyboards are made for the ocean (which is where they best perform), there do remain some pros (as well as cons) of using one in the snow.
- Cost-effective (for old boards or those lying around the house)
- Perfect for small children
- A good alternative if you have nothing else
- Can damage bodyboard
- A bodyboard is difficult to maneuver in the snow
- Difficult to hold on
- More dangerous than traditional sleds
- The face is very close to the snow when sledding
What Is a Snow Bodyboard?
There are two types of bodyboard-like devices that are made specifically for riding down snow slopes.
One being the Airboard, and the other the Snoogee Board.
First pioneered in 2001 by Joe Steiner, who designed the first lightweight, inflatable bodyboard-like snow device that allows you to ride inches from the snow as if you were on a bodyboard.
The board is made with highly resistant plastic-coated fabrics, similar to those on a water raft.
The cushioned board absorbs bumps as you ride down slopes which allows for jumps and drops.
Runners are also included on the side, which makes steering slightly easier.
It’s possible to reach speeds of 60 miles an hour on an Airboard with little effort, so safety equipment should always be used.
Snoogee Snow Bodyboard
Although the Airboard is fun, it lacks the control you can get with a bodyboard in the ocean.
This is because of the thick rails that can’t cut into the snow.
The Snoogee Board combines the control of a snowboard with the low-to-the-ground thrill of a bodyboard.
It took 8 years and extensive research to develop the Snoogee Board, but the result is the first sled that can turn and stop on its rails.
The Snoogee Board can hit runs at resorts and urban sledding, which were previously only possible with skis and snowboards.
The Snoogee Board, unlike the Airboard, keeps your feet off the snow, which limits friction, thus allowing you to travel faster.
With the Snoogee Board, you’ll be able to carve up the snow just like you carve waves with your bodyboard in the ocean.
What to Consider Before Using Your Bodyboard in the Snow
Before setting out with your bodyboard under your arm, ready to hit the slopes, there are a few things you should consider to ensure the safety of yourself, others, and your board, as well as personal enjoyment.
Before taking your bodyboard into the snow, you need to make peace with the fact that it may not be in as good condition when you come out.
Although the slick on your board is made from hard plastics, snow slopes often consist of small stones and sticks, both of which can scratch the slick.
Although this might not cause major damage, a scratched slick will result in more friction when you ride a wave, thus, causing you to move slower.
As mentioned before, using your bodyboard in the snow is only safe when you keep your speed to a minimum and clear of any potential obstacles.
If you’re at a ski resort with advanced slopes or want to bomb down a nearly vertical hill, it’s best not to use a bodyboard.
That being said, smaller hills that you would ride on random objects such as bin lids, crates, etc. will also suit bodyboards
Smaller kids will benefit from riding down a snow slope on a bodyboard as they will be more supported and cause less friction due to their weight.
That being said, as bodyboards don’t have handles, they may struggle to hold on.
This could make bodyboards an unsafe option for small children or those prone to injury.
Before using a bodyboard in the snow, you should always make sure you use protective gear such as a helmet, eye protection, and padding in case of collision.
This, of course, is subject to the type of hill you’ll be riding, but either way, safety should be strongly considered.
Regardless of whether you’re using your bodyboard in the ocean or snow, you should ensure that you use the appropriate gear.
Bodyboards are in no way made to be used in snow, but that hasn’t stopped countless people from trying and, in some way, succeeding.
Combining the extreme sport of bodyboarding with that of snowboarding was bound to happen at some stage.
Bodyboards are great to play with on small hills, but slopes that require navigation will need something more sophisticated such as a Snoogee Board.
If you have a spare bodyboard and nothing else to ride on but happen to have some snow to play in, put on your warm gear and head outside.
Just keep your safety in mind, and don’t be too disappointed if your board comes back in less than perfect condition.