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Vew-Do Flow balance board

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The best training for an outdoor sport or activity — say snowboarding, as one example — is to simply get outside and do it. But that’s not always possible, and sometimes an indoor-training alternative is in order.

That’s where products like the Vew-Do Flow ($99.95, www.vewdo.com) come into play. This year’s upgraded model of the company’s challenging balance trainer helps prepare you for outdoor action by putting a skateboard-size deck on a roller system.

Here’s how it works: The deck has a rail centered along the underside, which sits atop a slotted roller that turns the deck into a teeter-totter of sorts. Standing on the deck, you experience the seesaw motion of a normal balance board, but you’re also forced to control sideways slipping on the roller and maintain front-to-back balance.

Sports like snowboarding or skiing require dynamic balance and quick reaction time, and I found that the Vew-Do adds a great functional twist to a workout. It’s especially useful in mimicking the left-to-right weight transfers of skiing and the heel-to-toe control required for snowboarding.

Experimenting with the Flow over the course of a month, I appreciated how easily it can integrate some realism into workouts I already do. For example, adding it to a squat exercise for skiing better simulates the kind of control the legs need while carving a line through icy crud.

Losing your balance on the Flow can quickly land you on your backside (trust me here…), so new users should start gradually. One problem I noticed was the tendency of the roller to slip on hard floor surfaces, so try it instead on carpet or grass. Otherwise, the Flow is well designed, and this improved version features a durable nine-ply maple deck and full-length traction surface.

Bottom line: The Vew-Do Flow is a simple, fun piece of training gear to help maintain and improve performance for winter sports and all sorts of outdoor adventures.

—Contributor Benjamin Roman is a writer and design consultant from Venice, Calif.

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