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Featured Rider: Gromit

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  • Featured Rider: Gromit

    In this installment our Featured Rider is Gromit. I have never met Gromit but judging from his posts here I would say he is an all around good guy. Plus, he is a friend of valmorel's and that says a lot. Gromit has shared quite a bit on this forum and always is willing to help people out with their questions so he is a valuable member of the forum for sure. I have enjoyed reading about his skiboarding progression and how different boards and set-ups have worked for him.

    +1 on da Vinci and +1 on the bristlecone pine!

    SBOL: What is your real name? Can you tell us a little bit about where you live in the UK? What do you do for a living?

    Steve. Norfolk in England, that's in East Anglia. About a 100 miles, North East of London.
    I'm in technical support.

    SBOL: Based on your avatar and screen name it looks like you might be a “Wallace and Gromit” fan - can you tell us what is behind the screen name? Why did you pick it? And do you like cheese too?

    I'm a fan of Nick Park's (Aardman's) quirky sense of humour. Why Gromit? He really is the clever one of the pair who gets them out of trouble. I don't remember why I picked that as my screen name though. I love cheese. Strongish Cheddar mainly though I'm also partial to other cheeses such as Stilton and Danish Blue.

    SBOL: You have been a forum member since 2006 so you have been around the sport for a while now. How do you think skiboarding has changed since you have been involved with the sport? What keeps you coming back to the forum?

    Yes, skiboarding has changed a lot over the years. Skiboards have got a lot more competent. Faster too. The rockered boards have been a revelation and the new design toe pieces on release bindings such as the Tyrolia Attack 13s have moved things on too. I keep coming back to the forum because there are often new ideas to experiment with such as soft boots and snowboard bindings. I also enjoy helping other folk.

    SBOL: How did you get into the sport of skiboarding? What keeps you involved in the sport? Has there been a “pivotal” moment for you that really took your skiboarding experience to a whole new level?

    I skied on and off, for many years but was never very good on such long planks. Didn't quite master parallel turns. Kept slipping back into snowplough turns. I think that they call it “stemming”. Very tiring. I tried snowboarding but just couldn't get the hang of it. Then one day, I saw an old pair of Head 94 skiboards, for sale. The top sheets were a little beaten up but the bases were in good condition. I bought them and used them for a few seasons. After that, I bought a pair of Summit 110 Carbon Customs. As stiff as a fence post and with directly-mounted bindings. On perfectly groomed pistes they worked fine but on rougher stuff they would rattle the fillings out of your teeth. The pivotal moment for me was discovering skiboards with soft/medium flex (thanks valmorel!) such as the original version of the Revel 8 ALPs. I felt so much more confident when riding, in all conditions.

    SBOL: You and valmorel are friends and get to ride together a bit. How long have you known valmorel, how did you guys meet and what is the craziest situation he has gotten you into on a mountain?

    Around ten years, I suppose though I was aware of him before that. We both used to post on the long-dead, forum belonging to the other main skiboard emporium. Back here on SBOL forum, I read a post from valmorel referring to his visits to Milton Keynes snow dome and to how far he travelled to get there. I realised that he might also live in East Anglia and sent him a PM to ask about skiboarding together sometime at the MK snow dome. We generally meet up at the snow dome every 4-6 weeks throughout the year and on trips to the Alps. Craziest situation? Valmorel is very competent so he wouldn't lead me into anything dangerous knowingly but its always good to push the envelope otherwise one never improves. I can remember riding a long steep, narrow(isn) black run down into Saalbach village in Austria on an icy day with him. I can confirm that the edges of Rockered Condors do grip on icy pistes.

    SBOL: What are some of your favorite places to ride? If you had to pick one place, what is your favorite and why?

    I've only really ever skied in the European Alps though in several different countries. I've never really had the finances available to ride over in North America. Though maybe one day, I will. Favourite? The Three Valleys in France, I suppose, as there are so many kilometres of piste to enjoy. Though Hinterglemm in Austria is also great but a lot smaller but somehow more convenient to get around.

    SBOL: If you could only pick 2 skiboards to ride the rest of your life which boards would they be and why would you choose them?

    I've come to value the convenience of shorter skiboards as I'm of fairly short stature. So the Blunts closely followed by the Rockered Condors. Why? With the rockered construction and softer flex, they go anywhere in all conditions and can be ridden in different ways such as carving or sideslip turns (slarving).

    SBOL: If you could pick anybody – living or dead – to ride with for a day who would it be, why would you pick them and where would you want to ride at?

    Leonardo da Vinci. We should never run out of things to discuss and the world would have had steam engine-powered chairlifts many years ago!

    SBOL: We are going to go way out in “left field” with a question – if you were a tree what kind of tree would you be and why?

    Bristlecone Pine. I would have seen so many magnificent views, over the millennia, in Tuolumne Meadows (Yosemite National Park, CA USA).

    SBOL: Do you have a favorite skiboarding memory – something really special that always makes you smile when you think about it?

    Not really skiboarding but on a ski trip to Tignes in France, some years back. I used to fly a paraglider and took my wing and harness on the trip. One day looked perfect for flying so I rode up on the chairlifts, to up above Tignes. Laid out my wing on the top of the launch slope and walked down the slope a little to put on my harness. Just a short run on a nice steep slope and the wing popped beautifully over my head. Perfect.

    I flew down and landed on the snow-covered frozen lake beside the town. Sadly by the time that I got back up to launch the wind had picked up and was too strong to fly again but I'll always remember such an enjoyable flight.
    That wasn't my most memorable flight ever, though!

    SBOL: Can you share a few of your favorite winter sports photos with us?

    Sadly no. I rarely remember to take pictures when I'm away skiing. I wish that I took a lot more.

    SBOL: Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?

    Don't be hesitant to try something new in skiboarding. I've sometimes spent too long analysing things when I should have just gone and done them. Though advice given by others is always welcome.
    In pursuit of Peace, Harmony and Flow.....
    Think Like a Mountain

    Boards ridden, some owned: Sherpas, Spruce 120 "STS", Blunts, DS110 custom prototypes, Rockered Condors, Revolts, DLPs, Summit Custom 110s, Summit Marauders, Head 94s, Raptor prototypes, Osprey prototypes.

  • #2
    I enjoyed learning more about Gromit. Great interview!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Osprey, Sherpa, Custom Coda 120WT, Custom DS110, Condor (Green), Spliff

    Custom Twist Out duck foot bindings, Bombers (custom duck foot base plate and 3 pads), releasable S810ti on custom duck foot riser

    Nordica N3 NXT ski boots (best so far)

    Wife: 104 SII & 100 Blunt XL with S810ti bindings on custom "adjustable duck foot" risers

    Loaners: 125LE, 105 EMP, 101 KTP, 100 Blunt XL, 98 Slapdash, 88 Blunts