‘Just a bunch of homies trying to pull it off’: Breckenridge business hopes to make snowskates the next trend in winter sports
Aloud Snowskates products can be found online and at Underground Snowboards in Breckenridge
It was not that long ago when the only way to get down a mountain was on a pair of skis. Skiers used to dominate snowsports with no other competition and could have a ski day without having to worry about another “strange form” of getting down the slopes.
However, in the late ’80s, slopes started seeing rapid change with the rise of the snowboard. Turf wars ensued at ski areas across the country.
The snowboard craze eventually leveled out at the end of the 20th century, and it is now common to see skis and snowboards in almost equal numbers on a chairlift. Nearly 40 years after snowboards emerged onto the snowsports scene, a new method of cruising down the mountain has arrived, and a Breckenridge-based company— Aloud Snowskates — is trying to make snowskates the next biggest trend on the mountain.
Much as snowboards were first met with confusion and opposition from skiers, snowskates currently have both skiers and snowboarders not quite knowing what to think of a skateboard-type deck — with no bindings — fastened to the top of a ski.
Former professional skateboarder and Summit resident Eddie Sixberry was inspired to start Aloud Snowskates after riding several other companies’ snowskates. Sixberry, 60, enjoyed the concept of hauling down a piece of wood while only being attached by a leash fastened around his waist, but did not enjoy the feel of the snowskates currently on the market.
“I started snowskating around 2009, like all the time,” Sixberry said. “There weren’t many available and there were only a handful of people doing it. I was a ski and ride instructor (at Breckenridge Ski Resort) and I was allowed to ride my skate in uniform. I didn’t like how the other skates performed. I started modifying stuff.”
One of the biggest problems Sixberry ran into while riding other versions of snowskates is that the wooden top deck of the board would snap when he tried to land tricks off of terrain park jumps or natural side hits.
“I was breaking the tails on the jumps,” Sixberry said. “At the skatepark it is cool to break a board. You can walk to your car and leave, but if you break a board at the terrain park you have about a mile walk down. It sucked.”
As a result, Sixberry started designing a snowskate that was durable, strong, fun to ride on and could handle any terrain on the mountain. Sixberry designed a more durable board by changing the trucks of the board and partnering with Denver-based Folsom Custom Skis to provide a smooth-gliding ski for the subdeck.
Sixberry then assembled a crew consisting of his two sons — Andrew and Matt — along with other Summit County residents who all helped him officially launch 0 in 2019.
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Each member of the “fun-having” and hardworking crew has their own role, with Eddie Sixberry being the main mastermind and fearless leader of the company, Andrew Sixberry being in charge of screen printing merchandise and overseeing online sales, Matt Sixberry designing the trucks of the snowskate, Rich Fisher of Rocky Mountain Tattoo Emporium designing the art of merchandise and skates, and both PJ Parkinson and Jim James (Eddie Sixberry’s roommate) serving as the media, sales and events organizers.
With each member of the team helping to make Aloud Snowskates the next big name in the snowsport market, the team now has six different snowskates for sale to the public.
Each board offers riders a different experience, with some boards being geared towards fast and flowy groomers while others are ideal for terrain park riding or moguls. Another aspect that makes Aloud Snowskates unique to skis and snowboards is that they are easily interchangeable to any rider with no prior fitting or customization needed before barreling down the mountain.
One of the biggest obstacles Aloud is currently trying to navigate is making the public comfortable with seeing snowskates on the mountain.
“A lot of people haven’t even heard of snowskating until they see us,” Parkinson said. “They think we are on a snowboard because we are flying past them and going the same speed as skis and snowboards.”
Once introduced to what a snowskate even is, the Aloud crew is often then met with a fury of questions ranging from how does one ride and stay on one to how could you not injure yourself.
From the perspective of Sixberry and Parkinson — who both used to snowboard — snowskating does not differ much from its cousin, snowboarding. Snowskate users may not be fastened to the board via bindings or clips, but the grip tape on the top side of the board helps to keep riders attached to the board while the design of Aloud Snowskates’ skis allows them to carve almost identically to how one would on a snowboard.
“A lot of people who are used to snowboarding can just jump right on and start making turns,” Parkinson said. “Eddie is the first person to make a snowskate that is that much like a snowboard.”
“When I got with Mike at Folsom, my main goal was to make these ride like a snowboard,” Sixberry said. “I wanted these to excel technologically so that it is allowed on mountains. So that it is recognized.”
Although falls can still happen on a snowskate, not being clipped in allows riders to slide out on their back or run off the board instead of crashing their knees into the snow and ice like on a snowboard.
Sixberry said once people can get over the initial fears associated with a snowskate, they often find joy with experiencing their favorite mountain all over again.
“It makes it really exciting when you are on the blues and greens again learning,” Sixberry said. “It is reissuing the challenge.”
Over the past few years, Aloud Snowskates has started to make its presence known in Summit County, with products being seen on and off the mountain and sold at snowboard shops like Breckenridge’s Underground Snowboards.
Sixberry and Aloud have also branched out to Breckenridge Ski Area, hosting clinics for ski school instructors to learn how to safely ride a snowskate.
“We have done three clinics so far with the Breckenridge Ski School,” Sixberry said. “That kind of started because every time we rode past the ski school the whole class is looking. Now they can tell their students that I have ridden them and they are pretty cool. All we are trying to do is put the pieces of the circle together and make a bigger circle.”
Ultimately, Sixberry’s dream is to make snowskates the next common mode of transportation down the mountain, with Aloud being the go-to brand. Snowskates are currently allowed at several ski resorts in and near Summit County, but are not allowed at every ski resort in the country. Sixberry hopes to change that in the next few years.
“We are reliving it, ” Sixberry said, comparing their work with snowskates to the historic efforts to legitimize snowboarding on the slopes. “And it is really exciting to me. We are just a bunch of homies trying to pull it off.”
Aloud Snowskates has plans of growing its reach at the beginning of the 2023-24 winter season by hosting more clinics, team parties and other events. To find out more about Aloud Snowskates, or to purchase a board, visit AloudSnowskates.com.
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