SkiBike Tour 2014-15 - Combloux Yesssss!

Posted: Wednesday, 11 March 2015 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

It's great when a plan comes together, way back in November I spotted Jonathan. He lives close to Cluses in France and was busy asking a lot of the right questions on the Internet about skibiking. I couldn't resist the opportunity to introduce myself, in the vaguest hope that he would give skibiking a go, whilst in the company of some unknown and eccentric Rosbif.

Would you skibike in the company of some unknown and eccentric Rosbif?

He is already a keen skier and downhill mountain bike addict, so it would only be logical to merge the two disciplines and start skibiking. Where he lives, the tiny ski station of Mont-Saxonnex is literally at his door step, whilst the skibike friendly resorts of; Combloux, Les Carroz, Les Houches and Praz de Lys are no more than 30 minutes away.
He had already tried using a SnowScoot, but found the steering to be very heavy and difficult to engage the edges and really wanted a sensation closer to that of a bike.

I have two skibikes in my personal fleet, they are modest machines, based on Marin full suspension mountain bikes of the 1998-2000 period. They only have about 4" of suspension travel, but equipped with modified Alpine Skibikes adapters, they have proved to be robust and fun machines to ride.

My converted Marins have proved to be robust and fun machines to ride

There are some tiny detail differences between them, so I started Jonathan off on the one equipped with Line "Mike Nick" skiboards. The are reasonably wide boards, with a modest sidecut and are on the stiff side. They remain engaged on hard snow, drift really predictably and don't run away with you, like some of the dedicated skibike skiboards.

We started with a few "leg out" turns on the bunny hill, Jonathan got it immediately, so there was no reason to remain there and we headed up the chair lift to do some easy blue runs. After a couple of runs he was well enough in control to head further up the hill to try some more expert terrain.
The sun was out in full strength and the runs were soft and pliable, with a tendency towards slushiness in patches.

Skibike fun at Combloux - Yessss!

It was the ideal moment to try out the Boarder Cross course which had worn through in patches, so you had to pick your lines carefully. At the bottom of the run Jonathan only said one word, but it said plenty enough "Yesssss!"

We stopped for a light lunch and enjoyed the spectacular views of the Mont Blanc before heading down some steeper gradients to the little chair lift at Jouty. The last time I came down these runs it was using the skibob technique riding with foot skis, so for me it was a great pleasure to tackle them once more, but in freestyle mode standing on the pegs and twitching the rear ski like a dog's tail.

We finished the day on the more challenging runs to be found off the peak of Le Christomet, the Chevreuil piste being a favourite, which follows a ridge gently before plunging swiftly down into the valley; before finally heading back to the car.

Jonathan had impressed me, I expected him to do well as he already has the right suite of core skills. But sometimes people can be arrogant when they are good and simpnly won't follow the instruction of someone who may be no racer, but does at least have a lot of skibiking miles under their belt.

I believe we may just have found a new local ambassador for the sport.

Jonathan - a new local skibike ambassador for the sport?