SkiBike Tour 2013-14 - Grand Bornand Slush Puppies

Posted: Saturday, 15 February 2014 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , , ,

The weather forecast for today looked to be pretty grim, I had no intention of doing any riding and organised to visit Serge Mermillod at the Firem factory in Villards sur Thones. I got up stupidly early expecting a painful drive over and ended up arriving 45 minutes early. I took a stroll around the village to pass the time, it was a ghost town; one church, one bar, one graveyard.

Back at Firem, Serge and I went through some recent additions to his website mainly connected with the recent arrival of a new model, the VS 614. By the time our chores were accomplished it was nearly lunchtime and contrary to the forecast the weather looked quite promising for the afternoon.

Villards sur Thones is only about 15 minutes from both La Clussaz and Grand Bornand, both of which are skibike friendly. Serge suggested we ride in the afternoon and offer I gladly accepted. It was 3 years ago that I first rode with Serge, it's always fun, his passion and enthusiasm are infectious. I always end up going too fast, today was no exception.

The temperature was so high it felt positively muggy and although the sky was quite overcast, the snow at all levels was melting into slush. This made for sticky conditions, hell for the skiers falling over their tips; we were able to just blat through it with impunity. For once the stickiness of the snow meant that you could head down the fall line and the speed would built to a point where you couldn't go any faster. I think I surprised Serge that I could almost keep up with him now, it must be all the time I have spent trying to keep up with Carl Day.

The speed would built to a point where you couldn't go any faster

On our final run we swapped skibikes so I could sample the VS 614. There might be better skibikes for making a 30 foot cliff drop and others that are lighter or cheaper. But as an "all mountain" go anywhere machine it is without equal. You can take it on piste at blistering speed with stability and poise. You can take it off piste without bottoming out. Sit on the saddle or stand on the pegs? Yes both positions work equally well. It is probably the best skibike for carving out there, no need to run a foot in the snow for balance, yet it will drift too. Then there's the foot brake system, love it or loathe it, it works. For some it is what they want and what makes them choose Firem over other premium skibike manufacturers.

VS 614 - as an "all mountain" go anywhere skibike it is without equal

Me, I just like the opportunity to have a go and ride with Serge.