Exploration

Lacking Snow, Boarders and Skiers Turn to Leaves

Russian skiers and snowboarders make shredding in the woods on dry leaves look easy.

<p>Mikhail Potemkin, Vimeo<span></span></p>

The mission: Shred regardless of the weather. Not even a flake of snow? Too warm to make any? Woods still covered in dead leaves? Not a problem for these intrepid Russian skiers and snowboarders.

This week the Russian snowboarding site Rainbow Magazine featured a video by Michael Potemkin featuring five riders zipping through the trees, pulling off tricks using rocks, stumps and fallen trees. The team, sponsored by snowboard-maker Nitro, might actually be giving us a peek at the future.

"If you want to ride, know that there are no barriers," the video caption in Russian read. "They're always with us: mountains, nature, friends."

Dry shredding isn't entirely new. As others have pointed out, there was that crazy Audi ad last December featuring French pro skier Candide Thovex hitting the French Alps during the off season. Filming on that took six days, though, and clearly involved a bit of digital fakery. Earlier this year Red Bull athletes proved that sand can double for snow in a pinch on skis (video) and on a snowboard towed by a vehicle (video).

Maybe it's time to look seriously at these alternatives. We finally got a little snow out here in the Front Range yesterday, but it's been an unusually warm and dry October and November so far out West. New England is facing another rough ski season. The resorts out there are investing in off-slope activities like indoor climbing and laser tag.

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Watching video of dry shredding in the woods, the risk of injury does seem potentially higher when there's no powder in sight. The few falls shown looked rough. Plus: rocks. At least mountain bikers have the advantage of wheels.