Minnesotans have to wait to hit slopes on boards

Mountainboarding hasn’t really hit Minnesota ski slopes yet, although there’s a local company making equipment for the extreme sport.

Golden Valley’s Turfboard calls its product an all-terrain mountain board, featuring four-wheel independent suspension, special tires and dual drum brakes. Turfboard promotions coordinator Ben Brickweg said the boards are designed to run on the same slopes as snowboards and aren’t restricted to dirt tracks as are other products.

Turfboard’s two models, Double D and Turf DeVille, cost $599 and $699. Brickweg said the company has tested its products on local ski hills, but none have started to market themselves as mountainboard venues.

Instead, Turfboard is trying to get several East Coast ski resorts interested in the company’s mountainboards. He said snowboarding trends start in the East and West coasts before coming to the Midwest.

“We really haven’t even tried here,” he said.

Local snowboarder Nick Karels has tried the Turfboard products. “The riding isn’t that difficult,” he said, but added that falling on snowless ground can be rough.

“We have a full line of protective gear,” including helmets, Brickweg said. “You’re not going to feel much.”

Buck Hill general manager Don McClure said mountainboard prototype testing was done there last summer, but he said local ski hills haven’t bought into the idea yet.

“In certain niche markets, I think it would catch on,” he said. But he said, “Minnesota, in general, they like to do their things in season.”

McClure said mountainboarding might work in a destination ski resort that is already operating lifts for mountain biking or in a metropolitan ski center such as Buck Hill that could capture urban youths looking for the latest cool ride.

“We may look at it in another year or so,” he said.

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