November 7, 2007 Venomsnow’s Marcel Jonker hopes his company’s double-hinged Switchboard will open up a new segment in the winter sports market alongside skiing and snowboard. Is it the evolution of the snowboard, or the kick-scooter of the ski slopes? Whatever your opinion, it’s hard not to be fascinated by this innovative product from the Netherlands.
Venomsnow’s Switchboard features two short woodcore boards joined end-to-end on a double hinge, with lightweight footstraps on top, twin skates underneath the rear board, and an aluminum steering bar on a pogo stick-like suspension unit mounted on the front board.
The double hinge action allows Switchboarders to bend the board up and down, left or right in the middle to carve tight curves and follow bumpy terrain. The steering bar allows riders to initiate turns and haul the front end up in jumps. We’re not quite sure what the suspension unit’s for, as it tends to be your knees that take the hit when you land a jump, rather than your upper body, and the only thing that’s suspended is the handrail.
Unlike a snowboard, which requires special boots, the Switchboard simply has a pair of loose straps front and back that you can slip your feet into in your sneakers. The back footstrap mounts to a pivoting turntable, letting you twist your foot to different angles for comfort and handling. Like on a skateboard, you can take your back foot off to kick yourself along as you’re going. The hinged setup allows the entire unit to be folded down to a very compact size for transport, which is neat.
Jonker says Venomsports aims to cater for “adventurous, original people” – and you’d have to fit that description to go zipping down a fashionable ski slope on what looks like the snow equivalent of a kick scooter. The company’s baffling 70s porn-style video commercial, complete with enormous fake moustaches, does little to show off any handling benefits the Switchboard might have over a snowboard. Yet we admit we’re still fascinated by this device and what it might be like to ride.
Venomsnow are seeking international dealers and sales reps, and currently have outlets in Austria, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA.