So, you wanna play in the snow, but you live in sunny, southern Florida where it’s warm and muggy outside. While we offer no sympathy for those plagued by the monotony of perfection, it’s fair to recognize that there are limits to environmental bliss—namely, the inability to easily access winter sports. Therefore, to those banished to beaches and boardwalks, we offer a spring break bevy of gadgets that siulate winter sports without the thermal underwear or potential frostbite.
From the top, this thing looks like the skateboard you’ve been riding since fourth grade. But flip the board over and you’ll immediately notice a crazy-looking excess of wheels. Flowboards are built with seven wheels strung along each of two curved axles. The result is a 14-wheel ride that allows up to 45 degrees of carving—in other words, the rush of a snowboard ride, even when you’re hundreds of miles from powder. Created nine years ago, Flowboard has picked up momentum recently with nearly $15 million in sales this year. Boards range from 32 to 50 inch with prices starting at $79.99 and higher-end options reaching $199.99. While hills like those in San Francisco, where the company started, offer the best opportunity for Heavenly-like rides, even on flat ground the Flowboard feels different and is a great conversation starter.
Newron Trainon 4.47 Skates
Unless you’ve got a frozen pond in your back yard, the opportunity to ice skate outdoors is limited to your local Rockefeller Center in the dead of winter. But inline skates from Newron Sport Technology make it feel like you’re on the ice while eliminating the “roller stride” associated with normal inline options. The Newron Trainon 4.47 ($379.99) have their front two and back two wheels connected through axes that allow them to pivot in tandem. They also boast a suspension system that makes cracks or pebbles on the sidewalk a bit less dangerous for beginning skaters. Testing conducted at the University of Quebec shows the skates better replicate the exact stride used in ice skating and offer a 10% faster start than other inline options. Three different modular brackets for connecting the tandem wheels offer variety for different skill sets. A replacement chassis ($179.99) that’ll lock on to your favorite ice hockey boot is also available, meaning there’s no need to break in a new pair for summer training.
Human Touch Board
We’ve all got a friend with a balance board lying around the garage begging for a broken arm. But come on, how much technology is there in a big plastic cylinder and a piece of plywood? The Human Touch iJoy Board ($479) offers a three axis alternative to the traditional two-axis model for winter training with a bit less injury potential. The internal motor can gyrate at three different speeds controlled by a wireless remote worn around your neck. The repetitive figure eight motion is a bit boring, but a fourth speed setting offers a 15-minute program that varies between the three speeds. If and when someone links this to a video game system, the Wii Fit board will have a real challenger. At 44 pounds and retailing for $479 it’s a bit heavy on the wallet and the lower back, but lift tickets aren’t exactly cheap either.