A New Adventure During Your Ski Vacation

May 7, 2008 by  
Filed under features

The exhilarating sport of ski biking is fast growing in popularity as an exciting alternative to snow skiing and snowboarding. As the name suggests, ski biking is a combination of skiing and riding a bike, with skis replacing the tires of the bike and the rider wearing special boots and short foot-skis.

Apart from the sheer fun of it, this innovative technique of enjoying the ski slopes has a number of benefits that make it appealing. Leisure skiers who seem to be stuck in the “intermediate” stage of snow skiing, often due to time constraints, are finding that ski biking is putting the thrill back into their skiing vacation. Ski biking also has the advantage of being much kinder to the legs and knees than conventional snow skiing, making it an attractive option for more mature skiers or skiers who have suffered injury in the past. Not everyone is blessed with good co-ordination, and snow ski enthusiasts who have been spending more time sprawled in the snow than gliding down the slopes, will no doubt enjoy ski biking – same thrills with less spills.

Because of the stability and control made possible by the bike skis, foot skis and low center of gravity, ski biking is relatively easy to learn and chances of injury are greatly reduced. Riders will find themselves sweeping down the slopes with confidence after as little as 2 hours tuition. Ski biking has been available in Europe for around 50 years, with an excellent safety record, and ski bikers are competing in many standard ski events, including downhill, slalom and giant slalom. It is highly recommended though, that novices take lessons from a professional and all ski bikers should wear the appropriate safety gear to further minimize the possibility of injury.

Ski bikes are lightweight and, therefore, easy to transport on ski-lifts. Depending on the policy of the ski area, children can also enjoy ski biking on bikes suitable for their size. Ongoing research, often by trial and error, is resulting in a number of new developments with regard to ski bike design. Some designs have foot rests above the rear ski, thereby doing away with foot skis. The rider then has to balance the ski bike and use shifting body weight for control. This sacrifices stability for speed, appealing to the more dare-devilish riders. Some models have good suspension systems for the seat – a definite advantage when traveling over bumpy terrain, and a feature that may not be fully appreciated until the day following a day of ski biking.

As the rider progresses in skill and confidence, ski biking offers the thrill and challenge of experimenting with different terrain and even tackling the various jumps at terrain parks. Generally, with some practice, ski bikers can ride any snow skiing terrain. Ski biking is still relatively new, so not all ski areas are open to ski bikers, but with the sport rapidly gaining popularity, that is sure to change. So why not experience the thrill of ski biking during your next snow skiing vacation.