“He’s on a monoski!”
A French teenager points and shouts at me as I slide past him struggling to stay upright on what he has correctly identified as a monoski – a ski-meets-snowboard hybrid which clips in facing forward.
To be fair to the Val Thorens heckler, monoskis are not something commonly seen on the slopes these days. Or at least not in every ski resort.
After soaring popularity in the 80s plummeted in the following years, the monoski fell into the same box of nostalgia as the fluorescent one-piece ski suits and dubious haircuts so many people rocked while riding them.
Long story short, monoskis got a reputation for being a little bit lame in a lot of circles. They became the snowsports equivalent of telling ‘yo mama’ jokes or turning up for a pint wearing a pair of Crocs.
Here at Mpora though, we’re firm believers in the don’t-knock-it-till-you’ve-tried-it school of thinking – and we’d heard that monoskiing was making a comeback. Three new monoskiing schools have opened in France alone in the past couple of years, and in places like Chamonix people are far less surprised to see a monoski on the slopes than they are in Val Thorens. There are even companies specialising in the sale and rental of state-of-the-art monoskis.