How Boarders Changed Skiing for the Better
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Skiers (begrudgingly) owe thanks to the snowboard industry for revolutionizing their sport. In 1992, K2's top-end race skis, the CV Comp, were as straight as lumber and nearly as stiff. "To make them turn," says K2's Jeff Mechura, "it took a lot of strength and technique. By the end of the day, your quads were burnt." Snowboards, since the mid-1970s, had been built with an hourglass shape – the sidecut of the board resembled the turn shape, allowing the board to arc when it was simply put on edge. "We just copied what they were doing," says Mechura. Since the skis were then easier to maneuver, they could be wider, providing greater stability. Then in 2002, big-mountain ripper Shane McConkey, believing that snow should be skied like water, designed skis that arced upward, allowing them to float on top of powder. "Rocker" technology was born. The Bolt, one of K2's latest skis, integrates sidecut, greater width, and rocker. "Combining all three technologies makes the sport much easier than it was 20 years ago," says Mechura.