SkiBike Tour 2011-12 - Sörenberg

Posted: Sunday, 19 February 2012 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Emerging from the bunker this morning expecting to see more bright blue skies, I was surprised to see a good couple of inches of fresh snow had fallen overnight. As even more was falling by the minute, I swiftly retreated back to my room and donned a thermal base layer. I also pulled out of my pack a pair of very 90's Steiner goggles that in spite of their vintage have only seen a few days use.

Steiner goggles - remember the 90's?
I wanted to revist the runs from yesterday but as I suspected the conditions at the top of the second chairlift were poor and appeared to be worsening. There are two routes down from the top of the Hinter Schwarzenegg, on one side you had to face the wrath of the wind along an exposed ridge, on the other, a steep red run obscured by fog. I tried both and preferred the pelting of riven snow over riding blind. I persevered for a couple of hours but eventually decided to move lower down where there would be more shelter.
A couple of potentially nasty crashes proved that it would be difficult to ride fast and safely on the piste. So I decided to go off-piste, at times riding up to the tops of the forks in powdery snow. Skibiking is very much like riding a bike on wheels in such deep snow. You steer uphill to slow down, but try not to stall or fall off. When you do, you end up having to dig both yourself and the skibike back out.

DIY SkiBike - axle deep in fresh powdery snow

You need to get up on the pegs and lean right back, way behind the saddle, this un-weights the front ski and you see the tip break the surface like a submarine. Get the technique right and the sensation is like flying, there were even a few precious moments where I had enough speed and control to feel the whole ensemble planing like a speed boat.

It was so much fun to ride freely all around the mountain, bouncing and bobbing over hidden obstacles, cutting a fresh trail as I went. To some extent I feel that this is where a skibike truly belongs, the technique isn't complicated and the gratification is instant.

Uncle Fester the crusty Fiesta covered over in just a few hours