Whenever "snowblades" are mentioned around skiers, it seems to conjure up images of cheap narrow foam core blades with plastic bindings being skidded down the hill by newbies. That image has been valid in the past but is now over fifteen years old. Just like skis, skiblades have also had a technological revolution and barely resemble their ancestors.
Modern skiboards are;
Come in various lengths form 75cm to 130 cm
Carbon fiber beams
Rockwell steel edges
Steel binding inserts for release and non release binding options
The image compares an old Salomon Snowbalde to a modern RVL8 skiboard.
The main criticism you hear is that skiboards are no good in powder or variable snow and are too short to hold an edge. Again, this is a somewhat dated opinion. The Rockered Condor from RVL8 is a 110cm skiboard with a tip/tail profile of 16.5cm/13.7cm/16.6cm, giving it a surface area of 1610cm2. This surface area together with the rocker provides enough float for powder and variable conditions. Clearly skiboards will never perform as well as powder ski in bottomless conditions, but neither will your average daily driver. They will allow you to get off the trails without fear of getting bogged down. They are also good for cliff drops;
The issue of edge grip is a technical one. Given that the rider weight remains constant, the pressure on the edge will increase as the effective edge shortens. This results in increased edge bite, just like the Wave technology found on snowboards. In a more basic explanation, they work like ice skates. Most skiboards have their edges detuned to soften up the grip. Skiboards grip just fine when ridden correctly.
I have no idea how many skiboarders there are, but it is a huge minority compared to skiers. There are enough to keep two US manufacturers in business. Summit has been around since 1996 and provides products for the recreational skier. RVL8 has been around since 1998 and caters to park riders and back country enthusiasts as well as the recreational skier. RVL8 is successful enough to sponsor a team of pro riders and also hosts several events each season.
Just like in skiing, the availability of media is driven by the industry and not privately. Therefore the vast majority of skiboard edits are park oriented. The reason I posted the double flip video was not to show the absolute versatility of skiboards against skis, but to show that they are made well enough to perform at a high level. It's hard to refute that these guys are doing things on their skiboards that most skiers can't do on their skis. It's no just the rider, it's the equipment. And these talented riders are choosing to ride skiboards over skis. Fir them, they are the more versatile option. This guy certainly doesn't feel 'limited' by his equipment choice.
Clearly skiboards are slower than skis, but they are still fast enough for the majority of park and resort riding. If you want to race, they are clearly not your choice, but that doesn't make them slow. Stability at speed can be an issue on the shorter boards. The trade off to this is the incredible mobility provided by the shorter turn radius. Glades and moguls are are blast on skiboards, again when ridden correctly. Not all skiboarders skid out of control.
A growing sector of the skiboarding community is in the back country. Historically this is where many claim short skis found their beginnings with equipment like the Fern Gliders. Skiboards are perfect for AT, skinning, climbing and back packing. The non release bindings will fit on some mountain boots and are easily customized for AT. The main advantage is how easy they are to carry. No offense guys, but this has been around as long as skiing.
Just for reference I have skis, skiboards and snowboards in my quiver. I skied in the seventies and eighties on straight long skis, took a break for a career in martial arts, then came back to skiing after the revolution. After my knee surgeries my ortho recommended shorter skis as a way to extend my ski life. I find myself using my skiboards more and more. Quite simply because I have more fun on them than anything else.
Like I said at the beginning of the thread, you don't have to like or respect skiboards, but at least have an educated opinion.