Snowskating Archives

Nike LunarTerra Arktos

When Nike released pictures of its new winter boot, the LunarTerra Arktos, a few weeks ago, I was initially impressed. It seemed a good mash up of boot and shoe. I wear boots when I ride but I wished they had more flexibility.  I’m unable to give up the warmth guarantee and ankle support that a boot offers for the freedom of a skate shoe. I’ve had some great boots in the past but models come and go and they don’t seem to care that I want them for snowskating. The best boots I ever owned were discontinued after one season. Every year it seems that I have to take a gamble on ordering something to cover my feet with. This year I gambled on the Nike shoe….and lost.

bootsfirstshot zps91cded4d Nike LunarTerra Arktos

I really like how this boot is put together, no exposed stitches, burly construction, a flat sole with good tread. I imagine that the perfect snowskate shoe/boot would look something like the LunarTerra Arktos. But looks can be deceiving.


bootscloseupside zpse9105e06 Nike LunarTerra Arktos


The boot has a removable sock which is pretty much all the insulation inside. I was only able to get the boot on by removing the sock first, putting it on my foot, then putting on the boot. There is a side zipper that must be undone to get the bootie in. So, put on bootie, unzip side of boot, slide in foot, zip up side of boot then do the laces. Its a lot of work, so much so that I only had to try on one boot before deciding that I would not be wearing these this winter.


bootpictureofsidezip zps294fbde0 Nike LunarTerra Arktos


bootssole zps0433de2e Nike LunarTerra Arktos


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Once on, the boot is comfortable. It’s a loose fit, not like a hiking boot. Obviously the boot would need some break in time and would probably have good flexibility. Leaning on the outer edge of the sole was a bit painful for some reason. It seems like it would be plenty waterproof but I’m not sure how warm they would be. The sock liner isn’t very thick and that’s all the insulation the boot offers.  I’m surprised that it made it to production, didn’t someone at nike think that a boot that is really hard to get on might not be a popular item? Anyways they are going back and my search continues.


Couple of shop shots since there’s no snow yet in the mountains

coreonptes162 zpsc69df42d Nike LunarTerra Arktos

epoxyptex zps05154fc1 Nike LunarTerra Arktos

The worst job in snowskating is cutting out around the subs after they have been pressed. Eric did all but two of the subs and didn’t complain once, thanks MAN!!

worstjobinsnowskating zpsc1873297 Nike LunarTerra Arktos

Line up for this year

2014sublineup zps2bc2c71d Nike LunarTerra Arktos

Shop Pictures

1stashshirtdrilling zps05ca4e4e Shop Pictures

If you visited today, this is what it would look like.  I’m stoked to be able to concentrate solely on skates for a bit and it’s only september!! Definitely feels better then picking away at skates in the evening after spending all day on cabinets.

There’s a lot of work done to get to this phase but still a long way to go before these will be rideable.

2coresstack zpsd746831d Shop Pictures

It used to be that I was satisfied if there wasn’t a big gaping hole in the sidewall. Now it seems like every little detail is important. I’m really just a small time builder barely teetering on the edge of production.

3135top zpsae349d70 Shop Pictures

How many people are gonna hate this base color?

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WTF… I know right?

5noseprofile zps68574278 Shop Pictures

“How did I get here,” comes to mind when I look at the nose on this 135. Uh..this started out first as a way to drop some weight. Then there was the hope that maybe when this thing hits a tree after I have eaten shit, that the nose will bend instead of break. But really the reason I like this flexible nose is for the times I need to use a forearm shiver to keep my skate from splitting my lip. I’d rather have that flexible nose hit me then a full metal rap attack.

6noseflex zps4732cf4a Shop Pictures

Here’s the family line up. From left, the skate moss, 135, 145 and 162.

7boardsandform zps6c0f0f72 Shop Pictures

If you visited today you might be surprised at all the skates in my shop. Definitely inspirational to be surrounded by options.

8shoppicswall zps4b02fda2 Shop Pictures

Before I got started on skates this year I did a huge shop reorganization and cleanup. One of the results was a dedicated glue up area. Stirring and spreading and spilling happens here.

9glueuproom zps8de4e6f7 Shop Pictures

Building skates is so easy, you just pile all the ingredients into the magic bag and out pops a skate…in my dreams.

10vacuumpress zps532640ca Shop Pictures

Lots of work done, lots of work left to do. Decks and skate moss’s waiting for shapes.

11blanks zps5e48963d Shop Pictures

This view would be so much better if there was snow in the background.

12shop zpsc61eb7b0 Shop Pictures

“Hey Mark, how about a little pocket of camber on the back end of the 135? That should be easy to do huh?”

13135onroller zpsd4e6946b Shop Pictures

Piles of crap in back of the jig that cuts the 45 deg edge on the cores.

14trashandjig zps5c8811ba Shop Pictures

This is the first thing I see when I come into the shop. All the cores smiling at me, waiting to be made into skates. I hope they all find a good home.

15coresmouths zps80d49938 Shop Pictures

Summer snowskate edit

In the winter, when I get back from a day of riding where I’ve filmed with the gopro I usually don’t want to watch the footage. It just pails in comparison to my memory of it. I always look jerky and not as fast and the runs don’t seem to be as long as it felt like. But wait a few months and go through the footage and it looks way better then you remember. Resets the bar of how fun the winter was.

Summer snowskate blog post

What tha f#$K you might ask? and I wouldn’t have an answer. Lets just say that sometimes, snowskating makes you a bit crazy, or maybe your were a bit crazy to begin with. So yea, here are some pictures of a skate sub I just pressed. This idea has been floating around in my head for awhile. I built the first proto at the end of the season before last and was quite taken with the novelty at first. For some reason it kind of went into dormancy during the winter as I balanced orders with R&D. Some of you have seen pictures or the proto against the shop wall. This sub is an attempt to clean up the initial idea a bit. To sum it up, your basically riding two subs with the ability to alternate between them maybe….


clipsuptop zps8cc6574e Summer snowskate blog post


clipsubbottom zps8c82504a Summer snowskate blog post


clipsubside zpsed59673c Summer snowskate blog post


clipsubturn zps37c5e997 Summer snowskate blog post

risers down

clipsubrisersdown zpse4e4fa21 Summer snowskate blog post

risers up

clipsubrisersup zps84c26eb1 Summer snowskate blog post

Now that you’ve seen the pictures you know as much as I do


Skate the Selkirks

skatetheselkirksblogpic zps4de08d0e Skate the Selkirks

Well, another powderskate get together has come and gone. This is the third winter we have put something together. It was nice to change the venue from the Sawtooths to our home area the Selkirks. Riding the resort and backcountry with a capable group of guys is hard to beat. Most snowskaters are used to riding alone so when you have 10 additional riding partners chomping to get at the terrain the fun factor definitely goes up. Here’s a little mini clip for you to enjoy.

no post this week

Have some visitors this week so no blog update. Pictures from the weekend posted next week.


Luckily, I hear good reviews on my decks. In the early days there was some breakage and still decks can be snapped but people like the concave and tail. My decks are big and that throws some people off but with big subs and steep conditions a wide stance can be beneficial. I joke with some of my friends that they are lucky they weren’t around for the early decks. My first deck that was mounted to a snowboard was 13” x 32”. Very mellow tail and old school concave. I sold maybe ten of these and still have a stack of NOS that never made it out the door. Luckily Circuit was selling snowskate grip at the time. I remember telling him that I was building wake skates, so as not to have my secret money making idea jeopardized.

firstdeck zpsda65e483 Decks


Lots of people suggested longer decks, so that it would feel more like a surfboard. This deck measures out as 13” x 42” and is a blast to ride. I sold one of these to someone at the pass.

surfdeck zps70d9baf4 Decks

Decks dropped down to around 10” wide and 40 inches long. Scored some really crappy grip from a boat supply house??? sorry those of you who bought boards then. The 3/4” spikes should have been a clue that the gripped sucked.

crappygrip zps1f89f064 Decks

I had some old splitboard hardware at the shop, one day while staring at it I got the idea for a sliding front truck. When an idea hits you, its like a drug. You go into a kinda trance, wallowing in the potential. It usually wears off and only then can you be critical of your own ideas.


slidingtruck zps388f87bc Decks


I first posted pics of the sliding rails on facebook and yea, I was going through the idea trance at the time. But reality is never far behind. On both of these decks the channels filled with epoxy and was a bugger to get out. Actually made the decks worthless cause of how recked they were at the end.

channelproto zpsfdb66c5d Decks

I put these decks away and the idea of the channel out of my head for a bit.After a while, I visited a cnc shop and had some custom channels made that were better then what I was using. CNC time is not cheap but I was at least more excited to give it another shot. I came up with another idea for blocking the epoxy and glued it up. I felt pretty good about the press and began the process of cleaning out the channels. The first channel cleaned up pretty good, the second took a bit more time but the third and fourth were bad. I think I spent a good 2 hours picking at the epoxy but was able to at least make it rideable so as to see if the channels will even be strong enough. Why am I going through all of this? Weight. Trying to make things lighter. This set up drops a pound from the total skate weight. And while its not really worth it at this time, considering how much additional work it takes, things should go smoother if they actually prove to be strong enough for the job at hand. I’ll be riding it for the rest of the season so we’ll see.

channelsuccess zps8ab2f1d8 Decks

channelsuccesstop zpseefa6e20 Decks

National Geographic article on snowskating

Well not really an article on snowskating but the January 2013 issue about why we explore hit a cord with me. Going to get just a tinsy bit scientific here and seeing I’m no scientist you’ll have to cut me some slack. Homo sapiens,(that’s right I’m using the term homo sapiens in a bit about snowskating) explored the planet in a period of about 60,000 years. What makes this remarkable is that other species of upright walkers like Neanderthals lived several hundred thousand years without ever leaving Europe. The national geo article brought up the idea that homo sapiens had a gene in their dna that promoted explorations. The following  from the Nat geo issue is what caught my eye.


“If an urge to explore rises in us innately, perhaps, its foundation lies within our genome. In fact there is a mutation that pops up frequently in such discussions: a variant of a gene called DRD4, which helps control dopamine, a chemical brain messenger important in learning and reward. Researchers have repeatedly tied the variant, known as DRD4-7R and carried by roughly 20 percent of all humans, to curiosity and restlessness. Dozens of human studies have found that 7R makes people more likely to take risks; explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities, and generally embrace movement, change, and adventure.”


So basically there is a certain percent of the population responsible for exploring the fringe. When you first saw a snowskate and thought it looked like fun, while your buddy standing next to you thought that it looked like a shit show, well you can thank genetics. I’m constantly hearing people say that snowskating makes them see their terrain in a new way. It brings back a sense of exploration, turning terrain that you knew by heart on skis or snowboard, into a fresh slate of opportunity. Tonight I’ve promised my daughters that I would strap on skis to show them that I can actually turn. That I grew up skiing is not something that they know, they have only seen me snowskate. It will be fun to ski with them but it will most definelty lack that sense of adventure that I have come to expect whenever I head out on the skate. Bindings just don’t make me want to explore.


jeffanddrewvisithiking National Geographic article on snowskating

Back to blogging

hopelessoldmenonskateboards Back to blogging

Another winter is well on its way and luckily things are new and fresh again. Snowskating has always had this feeling to it where you just weren’t sure what’s around  the next corner. Obviously with a new sport you really don’t know where it will go. This mystery is what attracted me to snowskating.

94C42B46 orig Back to blogging

Early on the goal was to reuse old snowboards and be able to stand up for most of the run. Just the fact that you could go down hill without bindings was enough to make me hike back up for another run.

firstthreeboards Back to blogging

gravelpits062 Back to blogging

I had no idea what would make a good snowskate so I tried to make them really pretty using my woodworking skills. If they looked beautiful then maybe people wouldn’t question whether or not they actually worked.

8WheelerDeck Back to blogging

I fought the direction that most snowskates were going in. Small skateboard-like sizes to me seemed like I would be stuck in the parking lot. Of course I had never really tried a small skate so my opinion of them was totally wrong. At one point I realized that if I could control a massive snowskate and a small snowskate then what about all the sizes in-between? This was when the skilsaw came out. I had visions of trolling yard sales to score old snowboards for cheap then cut them down to size and re-sell them for a nice profit. I still have that same stack of cut down snowboards that have never touched snow.

chopfortesting Back to blogging

Luckily Adam at FPS did the hardwork for me and I felt like the time spent cutting down old snowboards was wasted time.

153and125fps Back to blogging

Riding big powder skates you immediately hone in on the conditions that will make them fun. Big long groomers just aren’t very enjoyable on powder skates so you become fixated on untracked terrain.

straightshotpowder Back to blogging

At first building my own subs seemed like a monumental task. I was afraid of the mistakes that it would take to accomplish my goals. But after the first crappy skate I was hooked.

newsubbottom Back to blogging

Just heading up to the mountain with a new prototype that offered answers to my many questions was enough to power me through the inevitable let down and remorse that would come after riding it. There will always be mistakes and those mistakes will direct your future designs. The mistakes make the boards. Without them you would be directionless.

ericroadgap zpsbb50410c Back to blogging

If you haven’t already noticed the snowskate community is made up of riders and builders. In some areas the builders outnumber the non builders. Making attempts at snowskate innovation is part of the sport. Those attracted early on need a hand in the direction. This helps everyone I believe because there is a constant “sharing” of ideas. I know I would not have been inspired to make changes to my skates if it were not for FPS, Ralston, Lib, Starfish, Circuit and Grassroots to name a few.

7FFFEF0F orig Back to blogging

So here we are, in the winter of 2013 with skates that still resemble my original attempts made eight years ago. The goal is still the same to stand up for most of the run.

A Very Late Update

It was definitely a good winter for the Pacific northwest. March alone brought in over ten feet of fresh snow and the first of April delivered one more powder punch. Strapless week even saw its final comp at Hurricane Ridge cancelled because of the snow. The first part of the week was epic though with deep powder days at both Crystal and Stevens. I’ve got a couple of pictures to post and some powder footage from the Schweitzer surroundings. We have over 200 inches at the summit so my guess is that the hiking season will stretch into June again. I’ve got some new ideas for next season and some solid product performances from this one. As always I’m excited about what’s next in the progression of big mountain lines and deep powder turns.

I know I will be spending some time refining this prototype. When the snow was deep this thing was amazing both at carving and landings.

photo A Very Late Update

Cole launched this thing a bunch before the snow disappeared and even pushed its limits in some not so perfect conditions. We learned a lot.

colepillowdropperair A Very Late Update

Its still about moving snow, chasing down turns and finding new terrain.

colespringslasher A Very Late Update

This video is from the backside of chair 1, fresh tracks off the front of Big Blue and first track on Big Timber in bounds plus some little clips. No YouTube sound track applied so if you have a favorite powder watching tune that is about 2:45 long cue it up.