I've Never Seen This At A Ski Hill -- Grass Skiing Is A Thing

Credit: Grasski USA
We are just over a week from the first day of summer here in the northern hemisphere, and although there are still more than a few places to ski around the globe, there are some of us that just don't have snow this time of year. Now, there are ways to get a skiing fix. Some people turn the inline skating or break out a pair of rollerskis. But, there is something less common, at least here in the United States, that might do to get in turns during the offseason.

Grass skis were actually invented in Germany in 1963 by a man named Josef  Kaiser, according to Grasski USA, or 1966 by Richard Martin, also of Germany, according to an article on Wikipedia. They were built for the obvious intent of keeping skiing and ski racing going year round. The sport grew in popularity throughout Europe and in 1985 the F.I.S. actually adopted it as a sanctioned sport, which continues even today.

The idea of these skis seems fairly simple. They really are just a tracked ski. If one were to look closely while grass skis were being ridden, the mechanism looks similar to tank tracks.

Credit: Grasski USA
The design would make for a great way to get forward mobility on terrain that isn't always slippery like snow, to put it simply. Tracks are tried and true.

However, seeing these types of skis in action begs a few questions. Those questions center mostly on how well they are able to turn and how well they are able to stop. Next is a video from Grasski USA, a North American distributor of grass skis, that might give some insight into those questions.

As you can see, this was an actual World Cup race with pro skiers doing what they do best. For them, it looks like the technique is the same and that the ride would feel very close to a set of snow skis. Although, it does look like there might be more effort made to turn. However, stopping still looks a concern. These pro racers have a nice, wide open area at the bottom to roll to a stop, but what if something gets in your way? Would it be possible to stop in a more public skiing scenario?

I won't lie, I am intrigued by the idea of grass skis. I'm not worried about the learning curve and I don't think anyone else should be either. We all had to learn to ski, so we've been through the process before. I also like that they are about the same size as snowblades, which I love even to this day. Grass skis might be a great way to extend the season and train for the next one, both in body and technique. It's just the idea of stopping that would leave me unsettled. This would definitely be something to be tried out on a tiny, backyard hill before tackling anything else.


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