8 Strange Surfaces You Can Snowboard On (That Aren't Snow)
Slag heaps, volcanoes and astroturf - it's all possible. Sort of.
With summer just around the corner and the snow all but gone, next winter seems a long way off. Unless you live somewhere near where you can shred (be it dome, dryslope or glacier) the summer can be a bit of a disappointment whiling away the six months or so until it snows again.
"There's no surface too crazy or strange to ride."
But there are some enterprising individuals who are so committed to getting their daily fix that they won't let a little thing like the off angle tilt of the earth's rotational axis dampen their day. If there's no snow they're still going strap on their board and slide something anyway.
For these brave souls there's no surface too crazy or strange to ride – even if it means risking life and limb in the process.
Here for your viewing pleasure (and a little inspiration) are the top eight surfaces you can shred (that aren't snow).
Admittedly the sport of skysurfing had its heyday back in the '90s, when for five years (1995-2000) it was a regular fixture at the X Games, but the techniques are very similar to snowboarding.
Using the air itself coming past you at 122 mph you can still carve, spin (check out the rotations at 00:53) and tweak grabs to your heart's content. The only downside its you've really got to stick the landing!
But what about actually riding water, after all it's basically just really really soft snow right?
We're not talking wakeboarding here but actually strapping on your board and shredding your nearest river/lake/stream. This is more popular than you might first think with people giving it a go everywhere from the Japanese above to these Danes.
Even legendary British free-rider James Stentiford gave it a go once in this Ford advert, with the help of some additional "horsepower" and a cheesy voiceover.
It's under your feet all winter long, hidden beneath a carpet of beautiful white snow so how hard can it be to ride grass?
As it turns out, very. Though it does lead to some pretty hilarious crashes and some questionable choices in dress sense.
But with a steep enough slope this looks like it has potential and as James Stentiford and Ford prove once again, with a truck load of fairy liquid and a quad bike anything's a goer.
Incidentally, if you happen to have any snow left lying around, skipping on and off the edges of the piste is definitely an option too.
Being stuck in the middle of country that is heavy on deserts and short on snow might not seem like an ideal location for an aspiring shredder but it's surprising what billions of oil dollars can make possible.
The masive snowdome that is Ski Dubai even attracted the attention of Marco Grilc and Mikkel Bang last year in the first episode of Grilosodes' third season.
Tantalisingly the episode closed out with the pair dropping in on a monster dune before cutting to credits.
But even if they did catch amazing footage of Grilc and Bang carving the sand like it was so much golden pow, we doubt they would've looked much cooler than our crazy Peruvian friend Victor Chavez with his awesome 80s metal soundtrack.
Interestingly, he seems to have been way more successful in his efforts than Signal's Every Third Thursday crew too. Perhaps they shoulda paid him a visit instead of getting that monster truck involved?
[part title="Astro Turf"]
Getting to a dryslope or a indoor dome can be a mission. Rather than spending hours crammed in the back of a car (in close proximity to the cheesy stink of your mate's boots) why not bring the dry slope to you?
With a little carpentry, imagination and a roll of Astro Turf you can have your very own backyard summer jib setup. No matter how big or small it's a great way to stay on form in the off season.
OK so they're not nearly as common as grassy hills, but if you happen to have a massive slag heap from some disused pit outside your home, why not give it a go?
These crazy Russians did, with surprisingly successful results. Although their protective gear kind of scares us a bit. What's in that heap, depleted uranium?[part title="Stairs"]
As everyone knows, stairs can be pretty lethal in winter so trying to ride them firecracker style in summer is pretty much suicide right? The Dudesons answered this a while back with an emphatic yes proving in hilarious style that concrete does not make a good substitute for the white stuff.
But this hasn't put off other intrepid sliders attempting indoor variations with pretty much the same results.
Though we have to say, some of them weren't trying that hard. Actually using bindings would have helped in this example while less alcohol and more belt would have saved the day in this classic incidence.
You might have seen the likes of Terje Haakonsen shredding volcanoes in Kamchatka, or Shaun White giving it some in Japan.
Hitting up a volcano in the summer, however, is a totally different experience – carving through black pow instead of white as you slide down a slope made of rock that literally exploded out of the earth.
Admittedly the top speeds aren't great, and you're never going to make a kicker out of the black stuff, but there is something undeniably epic about sliding down a slope as a volcano erupts behind you.
"The rocks are like bullets and they're known to go right through people."
Snowboarder Zoltan Istvan took a trip to Mount Yasur in the Pacific to do just that. And he glides in a remarkably chilled manner down the slope minutes after telling viewers that: "The volcano has two main vents – both of them shoot out lava bombs. The rocks are like bullets and they're known to go right through people."
Although it's clear we won't be breaking any landspeed records on volcanoes any time soon there are definitely mad props waiting for the first deranged rider to gap a volcano crater. After all, if snowboardkind has already conquered Chad's gap anything's possible right?
Maybe Halldor Helgason would be mental enough to give it a go? After all, he did gap this...