London SkiBiker meeting - MK goes to MK

Posted: Wednesday, 21 September 2011 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: ,

A meeting and skibiking session with the other London/Home Counties based skibikers has been on the cards since I returned from France in April. The most obvious location was SNO!zone at Xscape in Milton Keynes, the awesome indoor snow centre which had allowed previous skibiker meetings to take place.
By lucky chance I had some work taking place a the Luton Hoo Hotel about 30 minutes away with an evening free to do as I please.

I left Luton around 5pm and thanks to roadworks on the M1, the short journey took nearly an hour. Luckily it is not far from the motorway, which makes access by car relatively straightforward. Xscape is not just a sports centre, it is a sizable retail and entertainment village. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is free parking after 6pm.

Due to a failure in communication, skibiker Wayne Richards was still at home and some 90 minutes away. This gave me the time to explore the venue. I moved my car close to the rear exit of the building, which saves you a long walk carrying your skibike to and from the SNO!zone. I got myself checked in and booked an open practice session. Whilst waiting for Wayne's arrival I had some fun warming up on my SnowBlades, after he arrived, I swapped over into Skibiker guise.

The SNO!zone regulations stipulate that you must be an experienced skibiker with the ability to use the slope safely, able to link turns and stop. Lastly you will be required to wear a safety leash.

To get up the slope requires you to use a Poma drag lift. I have used these before as a skibiker but never in pegger mode. You have to get it between your legs like a skier, then sit down on the button wedging it against the saddle. Wayne made it look very easy and although the Poma was slow moving, I found it very awkward  to use. I have gained sympathy for novice snow boarders and appreciate the difficultly.

On the descents I tried the standing on the pegs like a motocross rider, after a number of "superman" ejections and face planting for the umpteenth time I was starting to feel dejected.
Wayne suggested I revert back to the more familiar sitting down technique, swinging out a leg on turns to maintain balance.
He had the charity to save my pride by suggesting that the stem was too low for pegging on my diy skibike. We briefly swapped skibikes and the bugger rode my skibike down the slope perfectly.... you can really go off some people.

SkiBiker with true talent - you can really go off some people

Dismantling my skibike in the car park a passing women asked the familiar question "What is that thing?"
I reeled off a familiar and well rehearsed script. "Is it as top banana as it looks?", she asked next. "Well you keep getting a frozen mouth from grinning so much" I replied "..and on a really good run snot comes out of your nose".
"Oooh" she retored "The snot thing has sold it for me".