In 1966 I was working as a lift operator at Buck Hill Ski Area in Burnsville,
Minnesota, near Minneapolis. Another employee, Steve Havig, who made the snow at
night, showed me a one page article in February 1966 in Popular Mechanics Magazine
on how to strip a bicycle and adapt skis to where the wheels were. Steve knew I could
weld and wanted me to help him build a skibike. After looking at the article for
a few minutes, I started laughing and told Steve if he wanted a skibike he would
have to build it himself. What I didn't know was that Steve had everything he needed
to build the bike in his car. So, that night between checks on the snow guns, Steve
built the bike in the ski area shop.
When I came to work the next morning, Steve proudly showed me his new skibike.
After about two runs on the beginners slope, which was serviced by a j-bar lift,
I was hooked. The next week I scrounged together the material and constructed my
The next month Steve and I took our bikes to Trollhaugen Ski Area, in Wisconsin,
and raced each other at their spring carnival. A writer, Ben Kern, who wrote a weekly
ski column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, was at Trollhaugen and interviewed Steve
and me. Ben asked me if my fathers name was Sidney. When I said it was, he told that
my father had taught him how to ski. The next week two pictures from the spring carnival
appeared in the Minneapolis newspaper. >see clipping below
The next winter a press release from the newly formed American Skibob Association
appeared in the St. Paul newspaper. The ASA was started in Denver by Lee McDonald.
It was from Lee that I learned the machine was called a skibob in Europe, foot-skis
were used, and there was a race circuit in several European countries. Lee and the
ASA held several national championship skibob races at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado in
the late 60's.
To be continued... when we can persuade Fred to continue writing...
A copy of the 1966 Popular Mechanics article on the bicycle to skibike conversion
can be seen at:
One of the most widely known figures on the skibike scene, Fred has been one of the
great advocates of the sport throughout the last four decades. It would be difficult
to find a more dedicated individual, he currently travels full time with a truck
full of bikes throughout the winter season across North America, spreading the gospel
of skibobbing. This is the beginning of his story... ~R.R.