~ In what is becoming a Festival tradition, around 30" of fresh white stuff fell on Friday and Saturday. So, like last year, we had to endure riding in seat deep powder. A terrible fate to be sure, but everyone made it out alive, and smiling!
~ Skibike manufacturer presence included exhibiting reps from Geary, Koski, Slopecycle, Stalmach and WinterXbike. Geary, Slopecycle and Stalmach are new to the U.S. this season.
~ Two race events were held on Sunday, a dual slalom and the premiere of SkiBike MultiCross. These events had an international flavor this year as 4 time World Champion, Austrian team coach, and skibike manufacturer Jacek Stalmach was present to conduct a race clinic, and show everyone the fast way down in the races. Despite his many years of riding experience, he had never ridden in the trees, as this is not allowed in Europe. So, the teacher had the opportunity for a new experience. Hopefully, a good memory to take home from America...
~ The two detachable lifts were open throughout the Festival to "foot traffic", so those who chose to ride without foot-skis had a variety of terrain to ride. Proponents of the two riding styles blended harmoniously on the slopes. Different strokes for different folks...
~ Riders gathered late afternoon Sunday for the closing ceremony, where the race awards were distributed. Mike Sparkman provided the eats and Don Koski the beer. A fitting conclusion...
Festival Tales... By: Dave "Gonzo" Gonzalez
~ Ok, we're all back by now (I think) and we all had a great time (I'm sure). The festival rocked! Tons of bikers, great snow.... well why don't I start at the beginning?
~ I almost didn't make it. Despite my fanatical love of ski-biking, real life got in the way in a big way. My partners needed me around, and I had to compromise by leaving friday morning. 2.5 days is better than none.
~ I packed light, with the major addition being a custom made ski-bike case for my brenter. (A&S case co built a lightweight plastic case to my specs in one day! At $129.00 it made my trip so much easier. I'll try and set up a link to their website.) I brought a bike I had never ridden before, a 1970ish brenter comodore that I found on ebay. It breaks down smaller and faster than almost any other bike, but I had some trepidation about depending
on a strange bike, and I was a bit worried about how it would handle with the old wooden skis.
~ When I got to the resort, I met Rod, who was limping around due to an ankle injury. Tough break, but at least it gave him more time to explain the sport to many of the skiers and snowboarders (at the cost of slope time). I'm sure we're all hoping for his speedy recovery.
~ Next I met Roy Meiworm and Mike Muir, our sponsors/friends/and event runners. These guys bend over backwards to get us out there and keep us happy, and lets make sure it's not a thankless job, so next time you're at Durango, buy them a beer, or put a good word in with the boss, they deserve it.
~ Finally, after meeting various friends, I actually hit the slope, and I didn't do that well
initially. I was in too much of a rush to get the skis waxed (note: time spent waxing skis is never wasted) and I often had to push/walk on the flatter areas. Most of the snow was fairly hard packed when I arrived, and I would have benefitted from better skis.
~ Then, the snow came. Tons of it. (when I got back to my car, there was at least 5 inches on the roof) As an 8 year veteran of los angeles, I was thrilled to see snow falling from the sky. As I rode I met several more bikers, I believe there were about 30 of us friday.
~ Instead of staying on the hill at one of the local hotels this year, I drove back to town. Advice to lowlanders: stay in town. it's much easier on your body if you're prone to altitude sickness (like I am). And drink lots of water.
~ Saturday was great. Tons of bikers, representatives from 5 different companies, and gobs of fresh powder. Note to all bikers: REGISTER! We had a lot of people show up and ride, but there was a half price lift ticket offer, and also it's cool if we actually know who shows up. I have no hard number, but I'm sure that over the weekend we had at least 75 ski-bikers.
~I had fun riding in some spectacular powder, doing some great tree runs. Several times I towed snowboarders out of flats. As a man-made snow guy, this winter has definitely taught me a lot about dealing with powder. Great when it's steep, tough when it's not.
~ My fun was cut short by a broken buckle on my sled-dogs K-9 footski. I really like the sled-dogs for man made snow, but avoid the K-9 model, too many problems I've had. I'm going to switch to snowboard bindings with 55cm skis for powder days.
~ That night I spent trying to fix my binding (I did it with a ratchet strap and some eye screws)
~ Sunday was my favorite. Everyone was excited about the races, and many of the bikers I ran into asked me when and where. I got there early and got to try the snowcross course, it was a blast! The hills were steep, the curves were sharp and everyone had to jump. I believe that Mike Muir designed the course, and it was a lot of work, but well worth it.
~ On my antique bike, I didn't expect to do well, but the course kept us neck and neck, and I was eliminated but not embarrassed. If I had my Hari....
~ Returning to watch the race, I learned that Roy had lost his expensive camera, and I joined him on a quest to find it. We followed his route down the mountain, and found nothing. I decided to do a run directly under lift one, in case he dropped it from the lift.
~ I believe most of that run was black or double black, and it looked frightening. Really steep hills with huge moguls. But they were pretty soft, and after several tries to be slow, I just started going full speed, and I've never done stuff that extreme before. Jumps and little cliffs and that old brenter handled it great, with only a sprung seat and no
suspension. Next year I want to take a group down that run.
~ I never did find that camera. Does anyone know if Roy got it back? if he didn't, I think we should take up a collection and buy him a new one. It's the least we can do.
~ After that, I had to go. I missed most of the races, and I never found the time to ride a winter x-bike, a Koski, a slope cycle or a Stalmach. But I had a great time, and I met some old friends, and made some new friends, and I'll be back next year for sure.
~ P.S. anyone who was at the races should tell us all about it.
~ P.P.S they took some great pictures of us, group and race shots. The pictures were very inexpensive, and we'll worth it. You might still be able to order from the photo shop.
Note: Gonzo is the #64 rider in the MultiCross photo above...
From: Lee MacDonald
~ It was great to get back on the skibob ( I have a hard time changing to skibike after many years of saying skibob. Like I also still call janitors, janitors, not building engineers). Hard to train an old dog new tricks!! My wife, Gloria, and I had a ball at the festival. Sorry we could not stay Sunday but another commitment in Denver precluded the extra day. Gloria hadn't been on a bob since 1978 and she said it was a natural as though she'd been bobbing all season.
~ It was great to be out riding with a group again. My last real outing was in 1982 at Geneva Basin with some ten others. The snow at Durango was terrific on Friday, but the heavy powder Friday night made for harder riding Saturday until it got broken-up some. It wasn't that feather light powder we usually experience in Colorado. Nevertheless, Saturday was fun and to see skiers, snowboarders and some bikers take headers into the deep snow was amusing in itself.
~ I was very impressed with the courtesy rendered by all the lift attendants under Roy Meiworm's guidance. Knowing they are in a service business and treating all ticket holders equally leaves a very positive impression for the resort.
~ Although I brought two of my 1969 vintage skibobs with me, we were privileged to have Fred Petersen let us use two of his modern Brenters for the two days we were there. I am 100 percent for requiring footskis with skibikes. Without them, skibikes (to me) seem to a snowboard with a bike frame.
~ The main problem with the growth of the sport, as it was in the '60's and '70's is the lack of durable rental skibikes. Not may areas are going to provide $1000+ skibikes for rentals. A rental skibike need not be a Cadillac for the first-timer taking a lesson. Learning to drive a Kia works just as well and because renters never treat equipment as kindly as they would their own property.
~ It was great to meet you and the others at the Festival. It was a great time and I look forward to next year's Festival and other outings at other areas. To see the resurgence of a snow sport that has been nearly dormant for almost 20 years is a verification of my strong feelings trying to get it into ski areas with the US Skibob Federation in the 1970's. A big congratulations to you Rod and the others who are bringing skibiking into the 21st Century here in the good old USA.
~ If I can help please let me know and if I see things that were mistakes back when, I'll let you know.
From: Ray & Chris Suder
~ Just wanted to thank you again for putting this event together. I know your time is valuable, and my son and I appreciate all the hard work you put into this festival. We had a blast, to say the least. I can't remember having this much fun. It was extremely exciting for me being able to compete in snow-sports again. I have not been able to ski for a very long time due to my bad knees, but this sport allows me to exceed even my best days of skiing in the past. I am wanting to become involved with the promotion of ski-biking, and to increase the awareness and opportunities that this adaptive skiing alternative has to offer. Keep up the good work with this website as well, it's been a great tool for us and many others. Also, here is my email address: email@example.com