Airboarding: the somewhat different way of sledding


IBS Publishing Team

Mastering the white slopes with an air-cushion-like airboard – this new trend sport is going viral right now. What exactly is the secret behind the fast-paced ride with the cushion?

In recent years, many new trendy winter sports have emerged. Ice Cross Downhill, Snowbiking and HeliSkiing are just three of the countless new ways to slide down the slopes in different ways. Now, airboarding allows you to slide down the slopes with a pillow.

Airboarding: what exactly is it?

The new trend sport was launched in 2001 by Joe Steiner, founder of the Swiss company Fun Care AG. In the new sport, an air cushion measuring about 120 centimeters and weighing three kilograms enables a wild ride down the mountain. But don’t worry, safety is also taken care of: two handles on the top of the board guarantee that riders don’t have to worry about falling off. Rubber-like rails are attached to the bottom of the board to keep the cushion on track. In less than 3 minutes, the board can be inflated to the desired firmness with a small air pump. This makes heavy carrying and uncomfortable walking with ski equipment a thing of the past. With just a few simple steps, you can fold the board so that it fits into a standard backpack: very practical for short-term day trips.

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Put it on and take off

While skiing and snowboarding needs to be learned during countless sessions before moving on to the big slope, airboarding can be picked up in about 10-15 minutes. To steer the cushion, the rider must shift his weight in the desired direction of travel – similar to a snowboard. With a 90 degree turn, the board gradually slows down until the driver stops.

But safety first – airboarding pilots have to wear helmets as well. Speeds of up to 100 km/h can be reached. Knee and back protectors are a perfect addition. Laurent Matthey, a Swiss rider, set the record in 2007: he shot down the slope at 141.73 km/h!

You don't necessarily need skis or a snowboard to conquer these mountains (source: unsplash/David Hawley).

Airboarding community: a growing trend sport

According to the Airboard pioneers, thousands of enthusiastic riders are conquering the slopes of more than 12 countries. So far, 150,000 airboards have been sold since 2001. However, it is not possible to use every ski slope for airboarding. There is no limit to riding on designated slopes and in certain fun parks. All important information about the sport is summarized at They also provide a map of all airboarding locations.

Similar to skiing and snowboarding, you can learn different disciplines. The most important are slalom and freestyle. This is already very close to the classic ski competitions. Meanwhile, even classes are offered. Participants are wearing snow shoes and carrying the board on their backs. Once tehy reached to top of the mountain, a fun ride down the hill begins. Those who prefer a more comfortable ride uphill can also use a lift.

Advantages of airboarding: winter sports for all

A winter sport for everyone. Often, interested winter sports enthusiasts fail to access the sports. Many slope sports – especially skiing and snowboarding – are pretty expensive. With Airboard, Joe Steiner has created a way to get many more athletes onto the slopes of ski resorts. A board can be purchased for as little as €40.  Of course, the sky’s the limit and premium variants can cost several hundred euros.


Down the slope with a cushion. In contrast to the “normal” use but quite racy. Another trend sport that enriches the winter sports world with many enthusiastic downhill skiers. Airboard is definitely worth a try on your next ski vacation. Or then rather airboard vacation?

Source Header: Unsplash / Grunewald