Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Is this your kid?

If it isn't your kid, it's your friend, your spouse, ...yourself!  Yes, cell phone addiction is real, and during winter it can be even worse, with cold and snow keeping people from putting their devices down, going outside, and doing something active.  And if cell phone addiction wasn't enough, there's couch potato disease!  These twin beasts can slay your focus, your energy, your health.  Fortunately, there are alternatives out there and PHNX Boards is one of them.  We build snurfer snowboards that are fun, inexpensive, and easy to use on any hill that has snow.  Perfect for all ages, from tweens and teens who have outgrown sledding to millennials and adults who want to take advantage of all the free powder snow all around and outside the expensive resorts.  You can go skiing and pay $171 for ONE day at Vail (plus all the $$gear and $$travel) or you can buy a PHNX Trailblazer for $169 (including free shipping) and snurf THE ENTIRE WINTER, anytime, anywhere there is fresh snow.  Hey, even if you do ski Vail, why would you want to miss first tracks in the woods behind your house?

With the gift-giving holidays coming up, why not consider something beyond another electronic gift that will keep them glued to their device?  Something that will get them outside in the fresh air, getting exercise, and having a ton of PHun!

PHNX Boards will make a doer out of a watcher!

Sound like an ad?   Yes, but its' also a cure!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Winter, 2018, here we come!

Welcome back, Old Man Winter!  OK, so if we can't refer to winter in that sexist way anymore, maybe just the guy with the big nose and the earbuds!  So, what's going on here, where is it and where's the Trailblazer?

Well, the PHirst snow of the season for this guy was on Mount Monadnock on November 11, up in Jaffrey, NH.  Always a great hike with a fabulous 360 degree view from the top and only 1.5 hours from Boston.  The snow in the photo was crusty, frozen, windblown, and just in a few shaded places among the rocks so no I did not get PHirst tracks with my PHNX Board!  What I did get was a great 2.5 hour round trip climb up and down the famous white dot trail, with all sorts of other people out there who know what AYADOAW means. A great way to get the legs ready for the real snow soon to come. 

During my hike, I also tested out my new Bose Sound Sport wireless earbuds and they passed with flying colors.  Yeah, I know, sacrilegious for many purists to "ruin" a hike in nature with music.  Even I used to feel that way, but I have to say it was...really cool!  I happened to be alone that day, so it's not like I tuned out my companions.  What I did do was listen to the entire two album classic: Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East and I was absolutely fueled by the Brothers' tireless jams (though not "Mountain Jam", which is on another album).  I also took the earbuds off now and again to enjoy the silence of the mountains...that is, as much silence as there is on Mount Monadnock, it being one of the most climbed mountains in the world.  So, best of both worlds, some music, some silence, and tons of fun.

So, yes, I am very much looking forward to the snow soon to come, and yes I will certainly be doing some snurfing on my PHNX Board Trailblazer along with my Bose earbuds!   What artist or album would you play while snurfing???

Friday, April 20, 2018

Old Man Winter Waves '17-'18 Season Goodbye!

...at least in New England, that is.  This guy sure stuck around this year, fighting back spring numerous times, sending us snow after snow (mixed in with a lot of rain), up and down temperatures, and some crazy wind storms.  But finally, the warmer weather got the best of him and he disappeared into the grassy field, to become moisture rising up into the atmosphere (see the fog in the background) to circulate around and plan his return to us next winter.

Oh, BTW, there was one very important thing he wanted us to ask you before he left:

Of course, all you PHNX riders know what that means and will be filling up your spring and summer with all sorts of outdoor sports and activities.  And PHNX riders will also be ready for the first snows when they come.  Until then, enjoy your memories of winter 17/18, and say goodbye for now from some of his PHriends:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Slow down and smell the...Powder!

No, PHNX Boards didn't close down just yet.  This writer was travelling to Amsterdam to a wedding, but got stuck in Dublin when a snowstorm bringing a whopping...two inches of snow... shut down the City!  Missed the wedding but was fortunate to complete the second part of the journey, a couple of days of great skiing in Val d'Isere, in the French Alps, including some incredible powder at the top of Tignes.

In the meantime, New England has been showing its true stripes with rogue snowstorms late into March, providing plenty of powder for those properly equipped (yeah, that means those who have PHNX Boards!).  We got 12 to 15 inches last week and another storm coming in tonight.  Last week's storm was a classic opportunity for PHNX riders, since schools were closed and roads were barely navigable.

Some of us are fortunate to have a hill right outside our home, so while everyone else was digging out, I was enjoying first tracks in the woods.  Understand, I say that not to brag like "yeah, I'm rich and I was heli-skiing, where were you?". The message is that snurfing is so much fun and so accessible to anyone for barely any money.  You too can grab first tracks anytime it snows if you just have a snurfer.

By the way, my back woods run is pretty short, just a dozen turns or so, but powder is powder and free is free, so its really pretty awesome!  Grab a few runs, get some fresh air and exercise, then back to whatever else you have to do.  That's the snurfer lifestyle and I'm amazed more snowboarders don't hop on the bus.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


PHNX riders come in all ages, shapes, and sizes but one thing they all have in common is a sense of adventure and a willingness to try something new (well, kind of new, snurfing being around for 50 years!!).  A recent response on our PHacebook page got me thinking about the kind of person who might be attracted to a PHNX Board.   When I asked the responder why our boards "might be fun for some people, but not for me", he replied "I like to go backwards sometimes and jump fakie, that's why".  While that is totally cool, and snowboarding itself is cool, I don't understand why you would want to restrict yourself to just one way of doing things.  Snowboarding, skiing, snurfing, sledding, dang, sliding your butt down a hill is one of the best things in life, why not do them all?

OK, so you really can't ride a snurfer backwards, but what you can do is experience first tracks all over the place with a hassle-free board that costs less than just the special boots required to snowboard.  You can experience the peace and quiet of slopes all to yourself, like my man Marcus in the photo above.  You can snurf right in the city on all those hills screaming out to be had...like my man Marcus in the photo above...who is snurfing in Boston.  And, you can learn something new, ride an "old school" snurfer but with some new features that make it even better.  Oh, and you can do all this without spending a fortune on lift tickets!

Speaking of Marcus, this guy is so cool I could write an entire post about him.  Here's a guy I met at that same hill in Boston who saw me riding and wanted to try it out.  He failed, failed some more, then started to get the hang of it.  At the end of the day, he convinced me to trade a PHNX prototype for...a beer!  What? Yup, he took advantage of the fact that I was dang thirsty and got himself his own board.  To be honest, I figured he was too poor to buy one, but that changed later on when he came back and bought TWO boards, a brand new Trailblazer and one of my spare Burton Throwaways...er.. Throwbacks  (just kidding, the Throwback is actually fun, but would be better if had the PHNX features).  Oh, and by the way, this time he bought ME three beers!  Better yet, these were beers that he home-brewed...legitimate, full bodied brews.  Boy did I invest wisely in this guy!

So, whether you're a snowboarder who loves jumping fakie, a home-brewer who loves city snurfing, or a modifier who takes his various boards to the big resorts (read my last blog), one thing is for sure.  You are someone who likes to try new things and mix it up.  A trailblazer for sure, which is why we named our board after you!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Modify your life!

(modified and prototype snurfers with the PHNX Boards patented Rip-Cord Binding-Brake System)

PHNX Boards snurfers have been shipped all over the US and a few shipped overseas (Russia, Japan, Luxembourg).  We shipped one the other day to Utah and were surprised at the response:

Hey received my board yesterday cant wait to shred it around town when we get more snow here in Utah! Question i didnt realize the bottom wasnt ptex. How would i go about waxing it to keep it sliding good?? Also thinking about routering the bottom and installing some edges!

Wow, this was both concerning and exciting.  Concerning because we thought we've made it very clear that a PHNX Board was a wooden snurfer without a ptex bottom or metal edges.  At least that's what we say on our website...but there's not much on our PHacebook...er Facebook page.  At the same time, it was exciting because this rider got something he wasn't quite expecting but nevertheless was jazzed up about riding it...and already thinking about modifying it!

I explained what a PHNX Board is and isn't and steered him over to PHNXBoards.com.  His response:

I just didnt pay attention enough i guess! Yeah Im planning on taking it up to Snowbasin so edges would be nice when i'm crossing over hardpack runs. Ive modified a few burton throwbacks and takem them up to the resort on pow days allot of fun! Ill take pictures and tag them on your FB when we actually get another storm

While going back and forth with this new rider, it occurred to me that this is the kind of person who meets life with a sense of adventure and excitement.  Complainer?  No way!  Didn't get exactly what you thought you would get?  Well, maybe I'll just modify it!  Already skied or snowboarded Snowbasin, one of the premier resorts in the US?  Heck, I'll go up there with a modified Burton Throwback...and maybe modify this PHNX too!

This rider's "modify it" attitude really resonated with me because that's how PHNX Boards came to be.  The original snurfer was a modify of the sled concept, getting off your butt and onto your feet.  The original Burton Board snowboard was a modify of the snurfer, adding those edges and bindings.  And now the PHNX Board is a retro modify of the snurfer, taking a look back and starting over.   It's a cycle of modification and innovation, sometimes small modifies, sometimes big ones.

More importantly, though, its the "modify it" attitude that leads to all innovation and progress, no matter what product, or lifestyle.  These days, its called hacking, or lifehacking; fixing something that annoys you, taking a fresh look at what you are doing and finding a better way to do it.

Do you live by the "modify it" attitude?  When facing challenges, do you modify your life?

Here are some photos showing the development of the PHNX Board Trailblazer.  Modify, modify, modify until you get the best possible combination of features, using whatever you have to do it.  Oh, and don't mind the mess, you can clean that up later!

Friday, January 19, 2018

No, Snurfing is NOT dead!

Ask most people what snurfing is and they'll either respond "huh??" or "it's that yellow board from the 60s or 70s that started snowboarding".  Either it doesn't exist or it existed long, long ago.  If you look a bit more carefully, though (i.e. do some google/YouTube searching of "snurfer" and "snurfing"), not only is snurfing not dead, it is very much alive and well, enjoying a steadily growing grass-roots resurgence.  At PHNX Boards, we call this a "retro-volution", combining retro for something in the past and revolution for a disruption of the present.

A combination of nostalgia and a response to the skyrocketing costs of resort snowboarding and skiing is causing more and more people to re-consider or newly discover snurfing.  I say newly discover because all the marketing of snowboarding and skiing drives people to their expensive equipment and resorts, and people just don't realize all those snowy hills all around them are theirs to be snurfed!

The photo above shows just a few modern snurfers, introduced only in the last few years.  Yes, these are all NEW snurfers, not eBay relics, including the yellow one, a recently issued replica of the original Snurfer-brand snurfer.  On the far right is Burton's retro snurfer, the longest and widest of the bunch.  When Burton starts making snurfers again, you know the sport is coming back. The others are different styles of the original "board and a rope" concept, with variations in length, width, sidecut, and style.  In the middle is our own PHNX Board, seemingly the same board and rope concept, but the only one with several critical differences (more about them later).  What distinguishes all of these snurfers from a snowboard is the lack of bindings and metal edges.  Snurfers are not designed for the hard-packed or icy snow of groomed resorts that require greater control (and $$$) offered by strapping in with bulky snowboard boots and bindings on expensive p-tex/metal edge construction. BTW, don't get me wrong, resort snowboarding is awesome!  It's just that Snurfers are meant to be quick and easy, inexpensive, hop-on, hop-off boards for all that terrain outside of resorts, the hills and woods that are all around.  They generally cost from $100 to $200 compared to $500 to $1200 for a snowboard setup (let alone the cost of lift tickets, transportation, and lodging), and you don't need any other equipment.  Snurfing is just another great way to enjoy all that snow!

Despite the renewed interest, a few hurdles remain.  The first is this curious attitude among snowboarders that snurfing is for children only and not cool for teenagers or adults.  While it may have originally been marketed to children, as it gained popularity older and older kids tried it out and realized just how fun it was.  That included Jake Burton who refined his snurfer and eventually created the modern resort snowboard.  Just because the sport was originally for kids or that it evolved does not mean it is no longer a great way to experience fresh snow.  As a skier, snowboarder, and snurfer, I'm psyched to get out into the snow however and whenever I can.  I can't imagine why any snowboarder wouldn't own a snurfer as well for those days they can't get to a resort or don't want to spend the money, effort, and time doing so.  Fresh powder is fresh powder, however you carve it up!

The other hurdle is the competition between snurfing (and for that matter, any other outdoor winter sport) and electronic entertainment/sedentary entertainment.  Its just easier to stay inside and watch a movie or play video games than suit up and go outside.  And, with snurfing, yes, you actually have to walk up the hill!   Lot's of people just don't want to make the effort, but they are missing out on a whole lot of fun (and endless fresh tracks!).  For those who would be willing to make the effort, i.e. all those active people paying for their monthly gym memberships, it just maybe didn't occur to them that they can get an unbelievable workout AND much fresher air....outside snurfing!

OK, so you don't have a snurfer but you want one?  Do some research.  If all you want is a really cheap replica, you can get one for about $100.  If you want a snurfer that retains the original concept but adds some critical new features, it may be worth paying a bit more for a PHNX Board.   The difference between a PHNX Board and ALL other snurfers on the market today is the double-patented Board-to-Ski shape and Rip-Cord Binding-Brake System.  Yes, it is still a hop-on, hop-off snurfer BUT these features give you more control.  The secret to the PHNX Board system is the fact that the steering/handling rope is not a fixed rope like all the others (look closely at the photo) rather an active rope that activates a binding that locks you onto the board.  In addition, the binding has an integrated safety brake to keep the board from running away if you fall during a run.

Whatever you choose, join the retrovolution and have a blast with the very much LIVING winter sport of snurfing!