SkiBike Tour 2011-12 - BullSkating With BullSkate

Posted: Friday, 17 February 2012 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , , ,

Leaving at first light I enjoyed a pleasant scenic early morning drive from Geneva. The route is very fast to Interlaken, but from then on it is tiny local roads almost all the way to Lucern before the turn off and short run up the valley to Sorenberg itself. It is smaller than I was expecting and the BullSkate hire centre/party zone/chill out lounge was easy to find.
This tiny 16' x 8' portacabin is, to the best of my knowledge, the epicentre of European Freestyle SkiBiking, no-one else has this many pegger skibikes available to hire. Within this tiny space, in a manner similar to Dr Who's Tardis, BullSkate manage to cram in; a sun deck with barbecue, a workshop with space for 16 freestyle skibikes, a bar and chill out sofa with optional nightclub lighting. This is the gestalt of youthful trendy skibiking, a universe away from the staid conservatism of the ski-bobbing scene.

BullSkate Base Station - The epicentre of European Freestyle SkiBiking

My arrival couldn't have been better timed, Martin Schwaiger was about to give a lesson to a group of novices, I joined the class and went through the exercises horrified to find that by BullSkate standards my skibike riding skills are well below par, to say the least.
Martin's appraisal could by summarised as follows:
I can skid the skibike, just like a girl
I keep my knees together, just like a girl
I have a gay wrist position, just like a girl
I put the balls, not the flats of my feet on the pegs, just like a girl
I can't carve the skibike, like a real man could.

This is how I ride - Come on Barbie let's go carving

Martin seems fixated by the carving concept, without this skill he feels that you do not fully control a skibike. It appear that at this point I Scarve turns, i.e. I start with a skid that turns into a carve.
I followed the "Schwaiger method" to the best of my abilities, but it seems that I am one of those students that just don't get it, much like some girls.
The biggest problem I have with the "Schwaiger method" technique is that it involves gliding an uphill boot over the piste in a similar style to the classic skibob racing technique.
I have just spent the last two years making it second nature to keep my feet on the pegs at all times and be one with my skibike. Now I am expected to go back to virtually step one, perhaps what we have here is a failure to communicate.
To compound my pain at the BullSkate skibike boot camp, the Sorenberg lift infrastructure is built around my "Bete Noir" the dreaded T-Bar drag lift, which I am struggling to get more than 50 feet on before the cursed thing ejects me. Apparently even 50 year old non-athletic office workers manage them with aplomb. I warned BullSkate about fat middle aged English blokes having a considerably lower level of physical ability and tolerance.
Ironically skibikes are banned from the gondola, but kids can carry on sledges the size of garden gates, aaargh!

Tomorrow, I will install a BullSkate "Big Ass" saddle on my skibike, Martin promises me that he had the same problem with sporty saddles, they are too thin.. we shall see.

In the last hour I was so angry and frustrated with myself, I donned my SnowBlades and went for a ski to chill out for a bit and it worked. I didn't pack my bikini and head to Rio, like a girl might.