News > Skis, Snowboards and... Snowbikes?

Skis, Snowboards and... Snowbikes?

aonehanderObviously you have heard of snowboarding and you've heard of biking, but, have you ever heard of snowbiking? The concept is pretty basic. Imagine a bike frame without wheels but with skis mounted on the front and back. There are no brakes or gears but the handlebars are on a swivel just like a bike. Because gravity, not your legs, is doing the work there are no pedals. But don't leave your ski boots at home--the snowbike rider sits on the seat but uses mini-skis to help balance and steer.

Like biking, the rider can steer primarily by shifting their weight. And like skiing, the rider can slow down by steering back up the hill or digging their skis in and shifting their momentum quickly. 

Snowbiking must be a new sport, right? Actually it's old, very old. Like mid-1800's old. They first appeared on European slopes as a legitimate form of transportation. The snowbikes were made of wood and were eventually forgotten. It wasn't until the 1940's that the ski bike resurfaced when Austrian ski manufacturer, Engelbert Brenter, created a patent for his "sit-ski". Even though the Beatles inadvertently promoted the 'Sit-Ski' in their 1965 film Help the patent was ultimately unsuccessful.

For years the snowbike remained in obscurity. However, the sport’s popularity was maintained in specific parts of Europe as individuals began to push the limits of the snowbike—taking it to technically difficult ski runs and achieving top speeds of 166km/h. Over time the snowbike continued to evolve and the design became more practical and user friendly. In the last ten years many different developers including Armani, Ikea, and Land Rover have adopted the bike, all adapting long-time snow bike manufacturer, Brenter’s, design.

While the new, user friendly designs have certainly helped boost the snowbike’s popularity, the sport found another, unexpected niche: injured skiers and snowboarders. If you’re a passionate skier or snowboarder you understand how devastating it would be to be stripped from your ability to carve the hills. Many ex-skiers and snowboarders with knee or back problems have found a home on a snowbike.

With it’s surging popularity, it isn’t unreasonable to think that ten years from now skiers and snowboarders may be sharing the hill with another hip device: the snowbike.

Max Selim

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