Coming down the mountain 

click to enlarge ADAM KREFTING

Backflips on Saturday, long jumps on Sunday, trade show on Monday.

It's all part of the job for Colorado Springs native Jason Lee, co-inventor of the mountainboard and co-founder of Mountainboard Sports.

A mountainboard is basically a gigantic skateboard with pneumatic wheels and spring-loaded trucks so it can be ridden on- or off-road.

Ultimately the all-terrain boards are designed to ride down the side of a mountain, but without snow. The sensation of riding one, explains Lee, "is the closest you can get to snowboarding, without snowboarding."

The original mountainboard prototype was built from a chunk of thick plywood, some junkyard valve springs, and old wheelbarrow wheels. "It looked like crap, basically, but it worked," said Lee, who attended college in Durango, moved to San Francisco to learn how to surf and ultimately co-founded Mountainboard Sports in 1993 with partner Pat McConnell.

Lee and McConnell initially started out small -- doing production runs of 3, 10, 30, and then 50 boards to sell to friends and acquaintances. This year the company, whose Web site is www.mbs.com, expects to sell 5,000 to 10,000 boards.

Mountainboarding is becoming increasingly accepted as a legitimate sport. Three Colorado ski resorts -- Snowmass, Copper Mountain and Winter Park -- now allow mountainboard users on their lifts during the summer months.

Actor Robin Williams and singer Diana Ross own mountainboards. Jason Lee would like to see you give it a try, too.


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