1. What are the commonest injuries sustained by skiboarders?
2. What about non-release bindings?
The absolute risk of an injury whilst skiboarding in Scotland is twice that of alpine skiing, and there is little doubt that the injury pattern seen (70% of all injuries affecting the lower leg) is directly related to the use of non-release bindings. In the event of a fall, the leg is usually firmly held to the skiboard and any forces generated are transmitted upwards from the skiboard to the knee and/or lower leg.
3. What about release bindings?
Unfortunately, you can't simply stick an alpine release ski binding on a skiboard and expect it to work. Computer modelling has shown that an alpine binding responds differently on a skiboard compared to a ski. Whilst the toe release of the binding should still function, unfortunately the shorter length of a skiboard means differing flex characteristics along the board's length. The upshot is that the heel release may not release in time in the event of (for example) running into soft snow. The other problems with attaching alpine bindings onto skiboards are a) it puts the price up and b) it puts the weight up! Both these factors negate against the benefits of skiboards (i.e. they are cheap and can be carried in a ruc sac up a hill). However, fitting a riser plate under an alpine ski binding may solve the problem and this is the solution Salomon and others have adopted. See the skiboard page for more information on some specific products designed to try and reduce the hazards of non-release and details of skiboards fitted with release bindings from the 2005/06 season.
4. Why shouldn't young children use skiboards?
My own personal opinion is that skiboards and kids simply do not mix. We see so many lower leg fractures from skiboards in this age group. Interestingly, Salomon used to promote a specific (shorter) skiboard for children (called the Grom) but it has disappeared from their range this year - perhaps they too are aware of the injury risks in this age group. If you are going to let your kids loose on skiboards, don't let children under 12 on them and for those over 12 please consider buyign skiboards with a release binding system!
5. Not sure about skiboards - what else can you recommend?
Finally, if all else fails then the alternative is to consider a short ski (strictly speaking above the 1m cut off for skiboards but still offering tremendous manoeuvrability). There are plenty of these on the market and great fun they are too. Look for a length around 120cm.