New specialized equipment at the Idaho Outdoor Program Rental Center means more opportunities for the Moscow community for future ski seasons.
Since last spring, the rental center has received 40 new alpine skis with ski boots to match and four Voile splitboard snowboards.
“They (Voile) are the company that pioneered a lot of this new snowboard technology and they are the top of the line,” said Outdoor Program Assistant Steve Mims.
Mims said the new splitboard snowboards are the newest innovation in backcountry snowboarding. The new boards and necessary equipment, which retail for over $1,000, are available for rental by Idaho students for a discounted price of $30 for a weekend with $15 each additional day. The boards come in sizes ranging from 156-165 cm.
Mims said that any community member is welcome to rent from the Outdoor Program. The rental center serves the wider community including WSU students but only ASUI members — which includes all undergraduate University of Idaho students — get the discounted price for equipment.
“We had requests for the boards, they are popular among a certain subset of people who are snowboarders,” Mims said. “Before, if you snowboarded and wanted to access the backcountry, you had to put on snowshoes and throw your board on your back.”
The splitboard is specially designed so users can disassemble the board and turn it into two separate telemark skis, allowing for easier access to backcountry.
When a customer rents a splitboard from the rental center, it also comes with all the needed components for the whole system, including the plastic covers that slip onto the bottom of the skis made from the snowboard called “skins”. The skins acts as an aid allowing the ski to move forward but has small plastic hairs that do not allow the ski to slip backward, making the act of skiing uphill much easier.
“It’s all about backcountry. If someone wanted to take one of these to a resort, I would recommend that they do not,” Mims said.
This year, the Outdoor Program is offering trips into the backcountry. Mims said the addition of the splitboards to the program’s inventory will allow more students access to the trips.
Kyler Christensen, a rental center employee, said that in the short time that he has worked there he has seen a good deal of interest in the new boards.
“Teleskiing is becoming more popular. I live in a fraternity and when my friends will want to go out I can use the splitboard and go with them,” Christensen said.
The new equipment was paid for in part by a grant awarded to the rental center last year. The grant allowed them to purchase new equipment to replace old deteriorating equipment. Mims said that his goal has always been to keep up the inventory they have and not try too much new equipment.
“For me, it has always been about keeping the equipment we have in good order. But when we have students wanting this equipment, we are happy to provide when we can,” Mims said.
The rental center was able to replace the equipment because they were able use money from student fees to provide the new equipment that students wanted, Mims said. All students at the UI pay a yearly ASUI fee. About $1 of that fee goes to the outdoor rental center, Mims said.
Curtis Ginnetti can be reached at email@example.com