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Rippin Riders

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  • Mountain Toys Provide Winter Thrills and Chills

    Rippin' Rider Alex testing his Mad River Rocket sled Skiing and snowboarding are but two of the many forms of fun to be had at America's mountain resorts. In addition to the familiar equipment needed for these popular snow-sliding sports, a breathtaking array of adrenaline-producing winter toys has debuted on the slopes in recent years.

    That array includes a variety of sliding toys. Snowbikes, sleds, skibob-type sliders, and more can be found on snowhills across the country.

    As with all speed sports, safety accessories are strongly recommended for riders. Those products include helmets, kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards and gloves. Some companies also sell safety accessories.

    Winter Highlights:

    Burton: Burton, a snowboarding innovator, is helping to define the category of "snowdeck." Riding a snowdeck, which is a board without bindings, is a cross of sorts between skateboarding and snowboarding.

    Burton's Link model ($200) is new for this season. It features Burton's unique Slider Trucks, grippy traction pads that allow independent flex of the subdeck for smoother turns. The Link also has a high-traction deck mat, which helps make the rider one with the board, and a coil leash that prevents the deck from running away from the rider.

    EMSCO: The EMSCO Group markets fun sleds with fun names. Dune Moons are the latest addition to the company's growing sports product program. These aerodynamic "flying" discs, available in 14-inch ("Mother Hover") and 18-inch ("Mega Mother Hover") sizes, feature high-quality resin construction. Their large size and heft make them steady in windy conditions, and their unique tie-dye design ensures that no two sleds are alike. The Bigfoot Snow Monster 37-inch Snoprint is a maneuverable, durable sled with radius edges, heel locks to keep feet in the sled, gripper treads and a tow rope. It has all that and individual tie-dye designs, too.

    K2: K2's "Gravity Tools" are the Snowcycle and the brand-new Ktube. K2 Gravity Tools are true 'directional control' devices that put the participant in the driver's seat. Like skiing or snowboarding, there are basic skills you need to learn, yet riding these products is very intuitive for most people.

    The Snowcycle 1.0, invented by Luke von Maldegen, is a modern version of the original "Ski Bob." K2 says it's the first snow bike to use shaped skis, providing superior control and easier turning and carving. K2 engineers utilized suspension technology from K2 mountain bikes, providing a smoother, more comfortable ride in variable terrain. The Snowcycle, available in adult and junior sizes, retails for $850. The new Snowcycle SMX ($875) is designed for use in half pipes and terrain parks as well as for freestyle.

    The Ktube ($275), new for for this season, is a steerable inner tube with a performance-fitted bucket seat and independent left and right steering levers. The Ktube gives the user the ability to reduce speed instantly, and it automatically breaks if the user is separated from the tube. Its durable nylon cover features high-resolution graphics.

    Rippin' Rider JP tests the Scoofi Scooter Skis and White Sierra outerwear MPH: MPH Associates, Inc. offers the extensive Eurosled line, which consists of 21 sled and winter toy models ranging in price from $7 to $150 retail.

    For this season, the Eurosled line has four new models. With the Scoofi Scooter Skis ($49.95), riders can use their scooter in the winter. The skis easily attach to Razor, Pirahna and similar scooter models and operate with existing brakes. The Super Whomper ($29) is a modern toboggan for two riders. It's black, durable, lightweight, easy to carry and made in the U.S. The Big Rig ($150) is a large, comfy apparatus for adults who love to cruise. Red with a gray seat, it features a padded seat, pull cord, dual action side lever brakes and stainless steel runners. Finally, MPH bills the Snow Baby Dream ($145) as the "only snow stroller that becomes a sled when baby grows up." The fully collapsible stroller has a built-in safety belt, detachable seat and handle, and stainless steel easy-glide runners.

    Sevylor: Sevylor makes all manner of devices for sliding on snow, from snow tubes to ski bobs to toboggans. According to the company, all winter products, which range in price from $10.99 to $104.99 retail, are made with cold-weather-resistant PVC and can be inflated and deflated outdoors. Handles are constructed to accommodate ski gloves, and many models come with a repair kit.

    Snow tubes for kids, teens and adults, featuring a new pear-shaped design, offer high-back support, more buoyancy up front and a special inflatable bubble seat. The Sno Tubee II is a tube built for two, with plastic runners and a pull rope, while the Tempest, the snow version of the company's popular waterskiing Jet Bob, is also designed for two people. The Tundra II (94 inches long) and Tundra III (114 inches long) are updated versions of primitive wooden toboggans. Both Tundras have beautiful graphics and are covered with polyester, with a polyester reinforced bottom, rugged snow fins on the bottom and a pull rope.

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