Mountainboarding (also known as all terrain boarding, landboarding, dirtboarding etc) is a blend of all boardsports, with a hint of mountain biking, bmxing and even orienteering / hill climbing mixed in for good measure. They can be ridden downhill over a wealth of natural terrain, as well on the street, skate park, or flatland with a powerkite. Boards are normally around 1 – 1.3m in length and run on 8” pneumatic wheels, though tires of 9” and 10” are sometimes used for freeriding. Boards also have bindings to secure you whilst riding; These vary from full snowboard bindings to velcro straps over your trainers. Some boards also have brakes fitted to them for greater speed control.
Over the years mountainboarders have formed groups or teams to act as a point of contact for local riders, organising meets and fun try-out days. These often operate through various internet forums and websites. Here in the UK a number of mountainboard centres also exist to offer tuition for beginners as well as having boarder cross tracks, jumps and other varied freestyle features for more experienced riders to practise and improve their skills.
National and international governing bodies have been set up which co-ordinate instructor training, promotion of the sport and ensure that riders interests are looked after. They also organise the national boarder cross racing and freestyle series and one international event each as part of the World Series.
There are three main mountainboard disciplines, not counting jibbing about for a laugh ;) These are:
Boarder cross tracks are similar to a BMX track, with banked corners or berms and jumps, often called table tops, as well as a number of other features. Instead of running round in loop boarder cross tracks snake down the slope. Tracks vary in width from a couple metres suitable for a couple of riders, up to about 6 metres wide used for 4 man racing.
BX racing is where the speed and skill of riders in really tested, with between 2 and 4 riders racing each other down the track. In the ATBAUK British Championship series the format works with timed qualification runs first to sort out the seeding and cut the number of riders per class down to the fastest 32. After this it moves on to the knockout racing.
“RIDERS READY? 3,2,1 BANG” first to the bottom is the winner!
This is similar to snowboard freestyle, with riders performing a variety of tricks over either one jump in the case of Big Air or a number of jumps and features like rails, boxes and quarter pipes in the case of slopestyle. Just recently a craze for doing flat land tricks (i.e. with no kicker and a minimal gradient) has started. This is where riders perform a number of tricks which are a mixture of snowboard “buttering” (pivoting round with one end of the board on the ground) and skateboard street tricks (ollies, small rotations and foot plants).
At competitions riders either drop-in a preset order or in a “jam” format were they drop in and hit the kicker or ride the course at any time they want. Either way, their run is then judged on technicality, amplitude, style and landing from a total score.
This is the soul of the sport where riders make use of natural terrain with the goal of enjoying the ride in nature’s playground. Open hillsides, woods, firetracks; your imagination is the limit. Sometimes it’s about the challenge of finding a slope or natural feature that hasn’t been ridden before, or pushing your skills to something steeper and more technical, but there are no rules; it’s all about taking your own line with your own style and having downhill wheelie-board fun in the great outdoors, remote, rural or urban.