Airboarding invades Montage

Local winter destination one of seven resorts in the
nation to offer extreme sport

CORRINE DIGOVINE
STAFF WRITER

      This winter has been long and drawn out. While many complain, the staff at Montage Mountain embraces every minute of the relentless season with the hopes that they may improve it for locals and visitors to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.
      The research and development team of Montage Mountain recently implemented the developing winter sport airboarding onto the slopes, making them the third resort in the east and the seventh in the country to offer the sport.
       Airboarding is very similar to sledding, only those riding have total control over the speed and direction in which they travel. According to Montage Mountain’s official website, the airboard is an inflatable board covered in plastic that is similar to a sled. Riders use it by riding face-first down the mountain, turning and stopping by shifting their bodies accordingly. The sport itself was founded in 1990 as a safer alternative to skiing and snowboarding.
      Future Director of Recreational Operations Tyler Crawford said that the owners were researching new ideas for winter snow sports when they discovered airboarding. He said that members of the research and development team ordered five boards that they would use to test the program on what they called “nights of program development.” They held many meetings in which they would design strategies for program development.
      “I was one of the first people given an opportunity to ride an ariboard, and I was enthusiastic about making it a commercial option to the public,” Crawford said. “It really gives an incredible, fast-paced adrenaline rush.”
      Montage Mountain opens the slopes for airboarders at 4 p.m. Sundays and Tuesdays. After guests buy their lift ticket, they receive the equipment and they take a lesson. After they successfully complete their lesson, they receive a license signifying that, from then on, they are able to ride on their own on days it is offered. Once guests come out for their first time, they get a lower ticket rate for their next two visits.
      The research and development team of Montage Mountain is hopeful that the new sport will benefit the mountain as a business. Crawford said that he thinks it will give residents and visitors of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area an opportunity to try a new sport.
       “I think it is going to distinguish the mountain on the map as one of the best ski resorts in the country,” Crawford said.

contact the writer:
corrine.digiovine@scranton.edu

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