Manson one of a kind on snow

Marquette resident shows off snowskating skills

Jeremy Manson of Marquette performs a trick on his snowskate board in a park. Manson is thought to be the only professional snowskater in the Upper Peninsula. (Marshall Lundberg photo)

ESCANABA — Most people are at least familiar with skateboarding and snowboarding.

A vast majority of them probably even have participated in those activities. But what about snowskating?

Though there are plenty of people who partake in this hybrid winter sport, Marquette resident and Escanaba native Jeremy Manson is probably the only one in the Upper Peninsula who does it professionally.

He works at Fuller’s Outdoor Maintenance and at Marquette Mountain.

Snowskating is a combination of skateboarding and snowboarding. Participants glide through the snow on a skateboard — without wheels — with a slick bottom like a snowboard.

“It’s been right around 10 years since I (started) snowskating,” said Manson, 22, who is a 2013 graduate of Escanaba High School. “It was just always for fun and it still is all for fun, but over time I got better at it and things started to present themselves.

“Basically, I’m just trying to be a kid as long as I can.”

Like many snowskaters, Manson got his start from experiences both skateboarding and snowboarding.

“I like skateboarding much more than I did snowboarding just because I don’t really like the feeling of being attached to the board,” Manson said. “So as soon as I found out about snowskating, I begged my parents to buy me a board for Christmas every year and it just kind of took off from there.”

Manson first started out with a smaller snowskating company called Icon Snowskates, but after two years of snowskating for them the company went out of business, leading Manson to reach out to Ambition Snowskates.

Manson has been riding for Ambition for four years, making videos while they send him free boards.

Ambition Snowskates started in Montreal in 2004 to progress the sport. It has five pro snowskaters on its team including Manson, who just recently started riding professionally last winter and has been participating in two or three competitions each winter.

Competitions are judged on a series of of tricks performed on multiple stairs, rails and gaps on each course.

Each competition is put together by Ambition Snowskates to showcase its snowskaters, and according to Manson, are more social than anything.

“Most of the time it’s not super competitive,” Manson said. “It’s mostly all of us having fun. But the last couple of events I’ve been right around the top three.”

The winner usually receives $250 while second place pays $100 and third gets $50.

Competitions range from Colorado to Wisconsin to Montreal.

“They want us to travel as much as possible,” Manson said. “They pay for our expenses for our traveling basically just to go out and promote it as best as possible and have some fun.”

Manson has a blast at what he does and encourages anybody who loves winter sports to try it out.

“I would tell anybody to give it a try,” he said. “Everything’s worth trying at least once. If you like skateboarding or snowboarding or any kind of action sport similar to it, then it’s a great thing to pick up. Once you start, there’s nowhere to go but up.”