There’s more than one way to get down a mountain..
By: Rick Reilly
Now there was only time for lunch in the car as we beat it for Silver Creek to test some snowbikes.
No, not those ridiculous bikes with spikes on the wheels they use in the X Games, another nonsport invented by ESPN purely for the pleasure of watching youth rack themselves on instant replay. No, these are actual snowbikes- like the ones the Beatles rode in Help!
They look like bikes, except the two wheels are replaced by skis about four feet long. They have no chains or brakes, but they do have handlebars and banana seats, just like the old Schwinn Sting ray. On your feet, buckled to your ski boots, are, well, snowblades.
I know, it sounds more dangerous than flossing rattlesnakes-but there’s nothing easier in the world. The skis on your feet keep you from falling over-you turn them as you would on a hill-and the two skis on the bike give you speed and stability.
Swear to Stein Erickson, not only did I have it figured out in five minutes, but so did all of my family and all of my friends family-11 of us in all, ages 10 to 42. Within an hour we were having the time of our lives.
You can zip on there things (current snowbike world record: 106 mph). You can go slow on them. You can turn sharply. You can stop easily. You can cut through powder, bash through trees, launch jumps-boys, just be sure to hit the seat again after landing.
But you know what the best thing you can do on these things is? Sit down. You know that feeling at lunch where you feel like a Mafia don has filled your boots with quick-dry cement? With snowbikes, you don’t feel that. We snowbiked all afternoon and never once felt tired. We felt like we were dancing the Nutcracker. We could’ve gone another four hours on them and not once been bored, befuddled, or bedragged.
If somebody hands you one of these, get on your knees and kiss their mitten. If nobody hands you one of these, go buy one. As soon as I find out where to do that, I’m going to.
Note: Colorado Ski Country USA is the official trade association representing Colorado’s ski industry.