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Ski Biking: the Evolution to a Classic Model

Even though winter is approaching mountain biking does not have to end when the snow falls and the trials close. You can still mountain bike in the winter. At many different ski resorts, you can rent ski bikes to ride on the trails. Ski bikes come in three different models. They can come in the hardtail model, the full suspension model and the electric moodle. For these types of mountain bikes, the tires are replaced with skis. One ski in both front and back, or for the electric one. One ski in front and a motorized track in the back. The rider usually has skis on the bottom of their boots to help them stop. The only way to stop on a ski bike is to turn sideways and skid on the snow's surface or keep going straight until you slow down enough to get off. Unless you are using an electric one, they just have a braking system.

Many ski resorts allow people to rent these for the day or however long they are staying. Most ski bikes are rated for green to blue-black trails. Very few ski resorts will let you use a ski bike in a terrain park. However, some employees will let you use them if you do a cool trick like a back-flip, front-flip, Mctwist, etc. The hardtail ski bike has the main aluminum frame of a downhill mountain bike. However, the front fork, suspension, has to be traded out with a specialty-made one that is ski compatible. The front and back tires are replaced with a twin-tip ski. The rider has to have skis on the bottom of their boots in order to stop and slow down. Brakes don’t work with these; you either have to turn the bike sideways or use your feet to slow down.

The hardtail ski bikes are usually meant for groomed trails to trails that have a relatively low difficulty rating. You can take these bikes off the main trail but be careful as to not go into deep powder. The full-suspension variants of ski bikes are much more difficult to put together. The front fork is specifically designed to hold a ski. And the back has to be completely rebuilt. The back usually has one tire. Ten to twelve gears, derailleur, main chain, disc brake, brake pads, and suspension fork. With the ski on the back, you take away all but the suspension fork. This does have to be modified in order to hold a ski. The back ski is built in a way the suspension is slanted at a 45o degree angle and, depending on the difficulty of the trail and the experience of the rider, can be placed in an aluminum frame. If the rider is new then the suspension will be on the outside with no protection. The back ski also has a hinge allowing it to pivot up and down. This allows the bike to “roll” over hidden obstacles in the snow. The rider can also use this to do wheelies.

The electric versions havea ski in the front and snowmobile treads in the back that are hooked up to a motor inside the bike. Some ski resorts have ski bike races. These races are mainly giant slalom to slalom. These slaloms are like the ones at the Olympics. However, the difficult part comes down to controlling the ski bike. All and all, the ski bike is a simple concept. It’s just mountain biking but in the snow with no tires or a braking system, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty fun.

Nate Meeter is a junior at Poudre High school. He mountain bikes, skis and plays baseball and tennis for fun and for a living. But mainly for fun. This is his first year on the Poudre Press. He also runs a blog that you can check out here!

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