‘Snow surf’ boards are hardly a common sight on our slopes. But they are showing up more in some classic backcountry films like Signatures, from Sweetgrass Productions.

The following item is lifted directly from the new The Drift publication, and features some quotes from renowned surfboard designer and rider Taro Tamai. The company Gentemstick makes snowsurf boards.


Image: The Drift
Image: The Drift

Taro Tamai: Of Gods and Mountains


My shapes aren’t just mimicking surfboards, but like surfboards they have different shapes for riding different waves. I shape boards depending on snow, terrain, and riding styles.

The design should perform on any snow condition, whether it’s powder, groomers, or spring corn snow. I don’t focus on skateboard-like snowboards, which emphasize ollies, big-air landings and the spinning factor, but a design that focuses on the relationship between the rider and slopes.

Image: The Drift
Image: The Drift


What if someone sees the mountain differently than others? What if the same terrain appears different to each person who sees it? Obviously the design for riding that place will differ from one another. The reason I quit skiing— which I loved so much—for snowboarding is because the potential lines that I could see when on a snow-surfboard were drastically different from when I was on skis. The ultimate goal of surfing is to be one with the wave. The ultimate goal in snowsurfing is to be one with the mountains.


Traditionally, Japanese people felt the presence of gods in all natural elements: water, forests, fire or mountains. Mountains were one of the most important deific symbols and climbing was a religious ritual. Japanese mentality sees gods in every single pebble lying on the river shores.