Monday, December 20, 2010

The 2011 Monoski Gear Guide

A couple of weeks ago while doing one of our in-depth consumer advice articles on the new Willy Finder one-piece suit range we made a passing prediction that the monoski might make a return next season. We were confident that this wasn’t going to happen because clearly monoskiing took the worst bit of skiing (the hard boots) and teamed it with the worst bit of snowboarding (going uphill) to create an incredibly freaky and pointless sport that no one in their right mind would want to do. E.g. 

Unfortunately fellow blogosphereist, Misplaced Person got in touch afterwards to break the bad news that monoskiing is somehow still alive. So we decided to brave it and take a look at what’s been going down in the world of monosking...

Duret (France) 
A range of 14 monoskis for the 2011 season
Monoskiing - Still 100% wrong 
Duret is the largest company still making monoskis. They started off making skis in 1925 and in 1979 a chap called Pierre Poncet produced their first set of monoskis. According to the history section of the Duret site, they were responsible for 80% of the monoskis on the global market in the 80’s, so now we know who to blame. They have since chillingly vowed that “Duret will never give up the production and design of monoskis.”  

By 1993 the initial popularity of monoskiing had plummeted and they were only able to produce two models, but things must be going well for them because this season, with 14 different models, they are now making their largest ever range of monos. Duret monoskis range from $465 to $773 for the top of the range ski designed specifically for their professional speed monoskier Xavier Cousseau... 
If you like tight-fitting latex suits and death then that is the monoski for you.

We’ve seen Xavier Cousseau before when we looked at the world’s fastest snowboarder. He’s got a pretty unique approach to training.

Duret do produce another monoski for just $65 which is designed for children, 
presumably if you want to toughen your kids them up by ensuring that they will be constantly bullied.

SnowShark (USA) 
A range of 5 monoskis for the 2011 season

SnowShark are a company working on a slightly smaller budget and their website doesn’t fill you with confidence when they ask the question we’ve all been thinking why buy a monoski?I assume the company consists of one man bodging them out in his garage.

Last season their standard monoskis ranged in price from $469 to $579 but this season you’re in luck because they’ve dropped their pants and all their standard monoskis are now available at just $399.

I was careful to refer to the range as ‘standard monoskis’ because SnowShark are one of a few company forging a now track for monoskiing – the split monoski... 
Otherwise known as a pair of skis
The split monoski will set you back $899 if you buy it from SnowShark, or you could spend about half as much and buy the same thing from any normal ski company.

Aluflex (France) 
A range of 4 monoskis for the 2011 season

Aluflex is another French company with a long history in snowsports, and like Duret they seem to have really focused on producing stuff people really don’t want. Aluflex was established in 1954 when they invented and produced the world’s first all metal skis. You probably get some sense about how good all metal skis are by noticing just how many people are rocking them 55 years down the line. They produce a range of awesomely costly monoskis from $865 to $1064 and showing a particular knack for producing pointless products they have now, like SnowShark, started to produce a split-monoski...

Coda (USA) 
A range of 3 monoskis for the 2011 season

Coda started off in the 80s making skis and they produced their first monoski in 1991, right about the time that the demand for monoskiing died. Despite their unfortunate timing they are still producing monoskis and they now concentrate on producing individually customised graphics for each board. Each graphic is only used once and you get to choose from an unremitting deluge of bad designs including: 
This design known as "Beef B". There are two other minced beef themed designs available if this one sells out.
A coda monoski will set you back between $400 and $600, and it won’t even make a nice wall decoration.

Kimono Carver (Germany) 
A range of 1 Frankenstein monoski for the 2011 season

The Germans are a nation with a proud heritage of engineering quality and invention, but the Kimono Carver cuts a swath through that particular stereotype. In 2001 former world judo champion and “The Killing Fields” extra Peter Petrikovic designed the Kimono Carver, a heinous combination of a monoski and a snowboard.
Peter Petrikovic - monoskier
If you want something that isn’t a good snowboard or a good monoski then for $330 you can settle for a Kimono Carver.

MonoBlade (Italy) 
A range of 2 colours for the 2011 season
When I first saw this I thought there was some sort of crazy futuristic hole in the middle, but on closer inspection I’m sorry to report there isn’t and this is just a standard monoski. Still it looks pretty and at $655 at least it’s not the most expensive.

A range of 3 monoskis for the 2011 season

TBK are a monosking specific film company, and because that's not going to make them rich they've also produced three monskis. If you’re going to have to buy a monoski then these look like the best thing to throw your money at because with prices from $330 to $397 they are the cheapest.
 You can use the $400 you saved to buy a snowboard. 

Blackburne (USA) 
A range of 1 monoski for the 2011 season

Robin Blackburne is a serial inventor of things no one really wants. He originally invented a strange double-stringed tennis racket, but it hasn’t taken off, so now he’s back with his own version of the monoski and he’s looking to sell it to unsuspecting Americans. The Blackburne monoski retails for a hefty $799, but you get your money’s worth because according to the site The BLACKBURNE Monoski technology is derived from NASA experience of advanced composites”.  
I guess it is made of Velcro and non-stick frying pans.

Swell Panik (France) 
A range of 1 monoski and 6 beautiful snowboards for the 2011 season

Swell Panik have a slightly different of doing things - “You won’t find any gimmicky NASA-techno-bullshit”.

Swell Panik was established in the early 80s by a man called Kafi when he started handcrafting windsurfers. He then moved on to snowboards during the early days of the sport and more recently he’s produced a few monoskis and skis. You can buy a monoboard to order for $896, but enough about that, look how nice this lad’s snowboards are...

This quality of boardsmithery comes at a cost and a Swell Panik snowboard will cost between $1,172 and $1,238. Feel free to buy me one for Christmas.

So that’s the look at this year’s monoski line-up and here’s our buying advice... If you’re looking to buy a monoski this season we recommend you buy a snowboard from Swell Panik.

Merry Christmas

Related Articles...
The world’s fastest monoskier is sadly faster than the world’s fastest snowboarder 

If you liked tandem monoskiing then you’ll love multiple snowboarding 

10 Famous Snowboarding Actresses including Paris Hilton and her own monoski..

1 comment:

  1. I am so pleased to read a summary that is balanced and fair minded. Where the author has not pre-decided anything.
    Where they look at a niche area and try to see what benefits this may have, for some who are less fortunate than they to not be born a 'cool dude' (who in their desperation to appear 'cool' all look the same in their hundreds.

    As someone who has used a mono-ski for over thirty years, it has allowed me to continue in a sport I love after a knee injury on normal skis,t near ended my association with the sport.
    The binding together of the two legs gave a huge increase in safety, virtually eliminating the rotary repeat injury of my damaged knee.
    It allowed me to continue using poles, face down the fall line and feel as close to a skier as possible. The worst accident I experience nowadays, is a slight slip onto my side, with minimal impact. I use bomber non release bindings too.
    This summation has been effective for 30 years!

    How many skiers forced to quit the sport, due to injury may read this and ponder, if they quit snow skiing too early?
    The dude boarders don't' seem to like the mono skier due to our rarity, we become the celebrity (not them).
    Yes I get looks (some with admiration) it creates lots of questions and curiosity.
    I could be considered a 'character' by some? .

    From a personal perspective and as one who cannot ski or use a snow board virtually weekly in winter, it has enabled me to move into powder snow, where the majority of my fellow countrymen in the UK, cannot, due to our limited opportunities to train.
    So my plea would be to those who wish to denigrate or apply near homophobic insults in our direction, to understand that there are many ways to enjoy this great sport.
    Perhaps those that do like to dismiss (or denounce) the mono skier are secretly jealous, that we are the true 'ski boarders'? Those cool dudes with jackets down to their knees and baseball caps worn backwards (how unique and radical 'man') have somehow mixed skiing with surfing off a beach? (sorry dismiss this last paragraph, as I am starting to sound as bigoted as the author of the original article!)
    Here's to a great next snow season , whatever you ride. have fun!


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