I’m willing to bet that most of you haven’t heard of ski biking. Well, until recently, neither had I. But if you’re looking for some laugh-out-loud, just plain silly fun, this is the thing for you. I know, because I tried it last week at Killington Mountain Resort. And I laughed, whooped, hollered, and giggled all the way down the hill.
What’s a ski bike? As you can see in the photo above, it’s essentially a bike frame with a long, low seat and two skis: one in the front, and one in the back. There are no brakes, chains, or gears, either. You clip your feet into two short skis, straddle the seat, and you’re good to go.
Although ski biking is pretty new in the East, it’s been around for decades, primarily in Europe and more recently out West. The bikes used at Killington are made by Brenter, a family business in Austria that’s been making them since 1949.
Killington is the only resort in Vermont with ski biking, which it offers in partnership with Alpine Bike Works. The mountain has 12 available in three different sizes — kids, medium, and large — and it can adjust them to your physique.
Once you’re fitted, you’re given some instruction on how to stop, start, turn, and get on and off the lift. To be honest, getting on the lift was my biggest challenge. The bikes really aren’t heavy — they weigh less than 20 pounds — but they are a bit cumbersome. You hold them in front and keep them in place using your foot, knee, and the lift’s safety bar. And while I managed to get the hang of it after a couple times, I’ll admit that it made me a bit nervous at first.
Ski biking, on the whole, is a low impact, easy way to have fun. The learning curve is pretty fast, which probably makes it great for people who want to get out on the snow but don’t want to spend a lot of time taking lessons, or for people who have physical challenges, or for those of us just looking for something fun and different to do. Turning involves simply shifting your weight. To stop, you turn into the hill. And to have fun, you just point yourself down the hill and GO.
Here I am coming down the learning hill. As I’m sure you’ll note, conditions were sort of challenging. We’d been through a spring-like warm-up, and the snow was a mushy-gushy, piled up mess. But that didn’t stop me from having fun!
Right now Killington limits ski biking to two areas on the mountain: the Snowshed learning area and Ram’s Head, though this could change in the years ahead. My instructor said it’s great in all sorts of conditions, too, so I think I’ll have to come back and find out for myself.
So what’d you think, Ski Diva?
Two ski poles up! I can’t recommend this highly enough. Definitely give it a try.
And now, for Killington’s ’18-’19 season…..
After an afternoon of ski biking, I attended Killington’s annual Resort Update meeting. Everyone in the community is invited, and it’s a great way to learn about what the mountain is planning for the summer and next ski season. Killington deserves a lot of credit for being so forthright and transparent about what’s going on. The mountain’s General Manager, Mike Solimano, had a lot of great things to announce. Most noteworthy: $16 million of improvements, which include the following:
• RFID technology at lift access points for both Killington and Pico;
• Upgrades on the K-1 Gondola, including new gondola cabins;
• A 6-person bubble chairlift to replace the current Snowden lift;
• Installation of a quad chairlift on the mountain’s underserved South Ridge area;
• Trail intersection improvements;
• Creation of a dedicated race training venue.
For more details, go here.