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struggled for years, never really getting off the blue runs...having to sit listening to all the gossip about how great such and such a run was, high up in the clouds, where I was never going to be! In desperation to conquer my fears of lack of control, and much against every ski instructor's advice I mentioned this to, about 3 years ago, I moved onto skiboards (snowblades) and things did improve. Much more control, nice tight turns when I wanted them, and I thought I had cracked it. I tried various lengths and widths, and moved from fixed bindings to release ones, but in deep fresh snow, slush or mounds of churned up stuff, the loss of length, and weight bearing surface, means you have to balance well, and be prepared for the odd face plant! So this year, I decided to move back to something longer, but what could be called a half-breed, much shorter than a normal ski, but longer and narrower than the traditional blade, 116 cms. in length. Tried them out at our local indoor snowdome, (which conveniently opened end of 2007 and is 5 minutes away) and all seemed well. Took them away with me (and my Head Big Easy 94 cm's skiboards just in case).
      Day 1 & 2 ok, but very nervous and cautious, same old feelings of fear of what might happen. Day 3, sun came out, snow got soft in the afternoon, and I took a tumble when I hit a mound of soft deep
snow...left ski didn't come off in the fall, (and that was the knee that had been operated on 5 months earlier - meniscus tear and arthritis). Couldn't ski the next day as my knee was too painful, and whilst sitting on a bench at the bottom of the run at the back of our hotel, I saw this odd site, a bloke sat on a yellow bike, that had skis in place of wheels! I was intrigued to know what it was, so asked the hotel owner, she said it was a Brenter Snowbike and they could be hired just down the road. We contacted the ski school and was told I would have to have a 2 hour lesson before I could use one alone. So I booked it, and persuaded my husband to have a lesson with me. Well we have never laughed so much in our lives, after the first 30 minutes we were confidently using the chair lifts, button lifts and new how to dismantle it for the gondola; we then biked down all the blues in the area, and loved every minute. Perfecting our turns, and deliberately searching out the slushiest, deepest mounds of snow we could find, and no matter what I did, I felt secure, safe and in control, and having skied, could use the foot blades to their best effect. We got back to the ski school and booked the bikes out for the remaining 1 ½ days of our holiday! Whilst we watched all the skiers and boarders struggling in the melting snow, our bikes just performed better and better, we drained as much as we could out of that last day and half, and biked until the lifts shut! At last, as Rod Ratzlaff put it so perfectly "This is it! I've found it! Nirvana
on snow!"
      When we got back home we started surfing the net, (as you do when you think you have discovered something new and want to know if anyone else has had the same moment of enlightenment!) And that was when we came across your forum. I feel quite privileged that the resort we ski in Obertauern in Austria, seems to be where Snowbiking started in Austria, and that Mr. Brenter himself has biked there. All the lift attendants are fantastic, slowing chairs down when needed, helping you on and off if needed, and generally looking pleased that you are enjoying something new. Not one negative comment or frown!
      Once home we were so daunted by the prospect of not being able to use these little bikes till next season, we grabbed a last minute 5 day break, back to the same resort, for the soul purpose of using nothing but the bikes, and that's exactly what we did. I have for the first time in my life, been down the runs I see on the webcams, the runs that everyone else sees, the reds that offer more challenge, and the
spectacular views from the mountain tops, that I normally I can only view in a photograph, and even better than this, I was with my husband to share it with, which is a new experience as I can never
ski the runs he enjoys. I know now that I can tackle anything, and instead of considering giving up skiing, as I was in February, I have years ahead of me to bike till my hearts content, and my husband, who has had 3 lots of knee surgery, and was beginning to think his skiing days were over, can bike off into the sunset of old age with me. Thank you Mr. Brenter!


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Sharon

April 2008

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Personal Story...

Sharon Shinwell

New to Biking―My Story

      Hi Everyone, only just joined this group, so just wanted to say hi to you fellow bikers out there, to say I am enjoying reading all your comments and messages, and tell you how I came by this fantastic past time at the grand old age of 54!

       I live in England, and we ski in Europe every winter (or we have for last 12 years). Started skiing late in life...mid 40's and although my husband and older sons took to it like a duck to water, I have