How is it different from a snowboard or ski?
You may be thinking, “Isn't a snowboard already like a skateboard?” In our opinion, not so much. It is true that on a snow board, you generally face sideways to the direction of travel. However, the feel of a snowboard is quite a bit different. For starters, the transition from turning one direction to the other generally requires the user to swing their back foot around while they simultaneously switch the side to which they are leaning. The expert snowboarder is generally flying down the mountain nearly directly along the fall line of the slope. This minimizes the amount of the swing to the point where it is nearly imperceptible and a beautiful thing to observe.
The beginner snowboarder is generally trying to slow down, which means getting their board more sideways to the fall line. This makes the swing from one direction to the other much more pronounced and difficult. Getting the timing wrong either catches the downhill edge resulting in a head slamming pivot about the feet or the board sliding out from under them which quickly slams the buttocks (and often head) to the snow. These are just rights of passage and survivors generally develop a healthy respect for proper timing.
When sliding on an edge, of a snowboard, increasing the lean of the board will result in some additional curvature. This comes from the waist of the board (the hour glass figure when seen from above). However, the amount of additional turn coming from this is pretty minor. To significantly adjust the turn, the back of the board must be slid to change the basic angle of attack. To put this in terms of a skateboard, it would be like having trucks with very small “truck angles.” Leaning would turn the skateboard a little, but you would have to throw it into a slide to accomplish any significant turn. Then the trucks would allow you to make minor turns in either direction from the resulting new line of travel. Granted, there are other ways to decrease the radius of turn of a snowboard. However, they are considerably more advanced.
With the Slope Surfer, leaning changes the effective curvature of the skis the same way that a skateboard having the usual truck angle does. Thus a little lean results in a little turn and further leaning increases the amount of turn. For the most part, any desired amount of turn can be accomplished by simply adjusting the lean.
Does that mean that you'll never head or butt plant using the Slope Surfer? Sorry to say, but you can still do both, especially the former. There is a simple rule that should never be violated for skis, snowboards or Slope Surfers. Never carve into a slide. For example, if you are turning to the right but the skis are sliding to the left, that is no time to initiate a carve to the left.