A skwal is the main piece of equipment used for skwalling, a hybrid sport combining the carving of Skiing and riding feel of snowboarding. It is similar to a snowboard or monoski in that both feet are attached to the same board. On a skwal the feet are one in front of the other, in line with the direction the skwal is pointing in. This differs from snowboards (in which the feet are side-on to the direction of the board) and monoskis (in which the feet point in the direction of the board, but are side-by-side).
The skwal was invented by two French ski-school instructors Patrick "Thias" Balmain and Manuel Jammes, with the first prototype appearing in 1992. They envisaged it as a way to offer different sensations to what skiing and snowboarding could offer, at a time when 'carving' skis were only just starting to take off. A French company called Lacroix took an interest, recruited Patrick Balmain, and started producing skwals. A few years later, Patrick left Lacroix and started his own skwal-making company. There are now several other makers of skwals, though the sport has never gained the widespread popularity its creators predicted - possibly due to the perceived difficulty of the sport. The sport is nonetheless gathering a few more adepts every year.
- Alpine skiing
- Freestyle skiing
- Mogul Skiing
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