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Creators of "teleboard" hope it will catch on
Monday, 19 January 2004
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It's not exactly snowboarding. It's not exactly skiing, either.

Consider the teleboard, a patented cross between snowboards and the mix of downhill and cross-country skiing known as telemark skiing.

The teleboard is created by Erik Fey of New Boston, along with his brother Martin in Connecticut.

It's like a snowboard in that both feet are attached to a single board rather than to two separate skies - but it's like telemark skiing in that the heels can be lifted while the toes remain strapped down.

In snowboarding, as in downhill skiing, the entire foot is held down by the bindings. But foot flexibility is important in telemark skiing, which is often used in backcountry settings where downhill runs are mixed with cross-country treks across flat terrain.

Fey says it isn't easy getting people to switch to the teleboard. He says customers have been a mix of skiers and snowboarders, although a boost in popularity of telemark skiing has been a help.

"Skiing for a lot of people is their religion, and it's hard to change a religion," he joked.

The board come in three sizes. Since starting their company, Uniboard, in 1996, the Feys have sold "a couple hundred a year," which is about the limit that the pair can handle without expanding.

The company's teleboards are manufactured in northern Quebec, and the brothers sell them online and through a few distributors, including one in Norway, where telemark skiing is huge. The brothers also sell traditional telemark gear online.

Fey also conducts teleboard demonstrations on Wednesdays at Mount Sunapee Ski Area and Thursday nights at Crotched Mountain.

"I saw it and had to try it," said Carson Henry of Lyndeborough. "It took me three times to convince myself to spend the money."



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