Last month my favorite instructor (George Mosher – Grand Targhee, Ski Mag top 100, etc,) put me & my wife on Rossi shorties. They were 120 & 130cm. He used the 130s just because there was only one pair of the 120s. Essentially the long end of blades... Had standard demo bindings. The goal was to focus on balance & body position for smooth carving. I was skeptical at first. No more. They were a great drill tool and a riot to boot.
Fast-forward a few weeks... Took my new Atomic e-zone 120s (purchased from skiboards.com) out for the first time yesterday. These have a 75mm waist, factory mounted adjustable centro binding and a 9m radius. These are on the "ski" end of the length and design spectrum.
Conditions were less than ideal - lots of new floofy & somewhat heavy snow. All grooming was pretty covered up. Spent most of the day off piste on x-hots. But you know how it is with a new toy beckoning! Near the end of the day I popped the skiboards on for a few runs - even though conditions seemed all wrong. I expected to get creamed because the trails were all cut up. I was forecasting a couple of falls per run. I also expected to limit myself to the beginner lift. Well, the skiboards were a gas. I immediately moved onto some vanilla blues. They handled the cutup stuff & baby bumps way better than expected. I even popped off trail here and there. Never fell, despite some close calls.
They definitely communicate! When I was on top of them, they'd lock in and just carve, carve, carve. Body position was the same as for my normal skis. None of the gorilla stance stuff people talk about. Big turns, little turns, whatever. Stop on a dime with no skid whatsoever (I'm 6'1 & about 200 pounds). When I got careless - well, it must have been entertaining to watch me "recover". Also, they were fast. This was a surprise, but I couldn't count the number of people I blew past while just comfortably cruising on the skiboards.
I have not tried any of the shorter boards/blades, so I cannot comment on those. I can say that I am really impressed with both the practice potential and the fun factor of the 120s I've been on. Both the Rossis and the Atomics were great fun (although I think the Atomics handled better for me). Both had "standard bindings". I suspect that for me "groomer day" will become synonymous with "skiboard day".
I don't know why Atomic seems to keep these things a secret. They aren't even on their website! With any amount of marketing, I have to believe they'd be hot sellers.
Don't knock them until you try them...
I do have one question - As noted in earlier posts, there is some disagreement about DIN settings. I've heard suggestions about dropping the heel setting & about dropping everything way low. For now, I compromised and set heel and toe to 6 (I usually run 8-9). So far, so good, in terms of not releasing early anyway. Does anyone have any real data about optimal DIN settings on these things?