SkiBike Tour 2015-16 - Conclusion

Posted: Thursday, 14 April 2016 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , , ,

Without any shadow of a doubt the SkiBike Tour 2015-16 was exceptional; it was in so many ways both the best and worst since the inception of this website.

It marked my return to Austria's ski resorts, my first visit since 2009 and only my second ever experience of this popular skibiking destination. Things kicked off early in December with the 4 Glaciers Express visit to four Austrian glaciers in as many days. It could have been such a perfect jaunt, in good company with near perfect weather. By the last day I felt like a skibiking god, I owned the mountain; but then came the fall that pretty much ruined the season for me. It was just a random fall of the sort you should laugh off, but it has had long lasting and quite possibly permanent consequences.

4 Glaciers Express - by the last day I felt like a skibiking god

A number of panel beating sessions by Dr. Robert, Croydon's skibiking chiropractor, knocked out enough dents for me to make it to Zell-am-See for the first ever European meeting of freestyle skibikers. It united riders from; Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the five countries that have been pushing the sport forward in recent years. What a fabulously disparate tribe of freaks, weirdos and deviants, I had finally found my tribe.

Skibikers - a disparate tribe

It was a little overwhelming to be in the company of so many of the movers and shakers of the European freestyle skibike movement all at the same time. I have never felt so humbled as to be sat next to a World Master skibob racer at dinner with whom I had previously competed (very poorly) against.

It was also great to see novice skibikers make their first turns on a skibike and to see the expressions of joy (and perhaps relief) on their faces. Blog co-writer Wayne Richards certainly made a name for himself as our chief instructor.

Wayne Richards - made a name for himself as Chief Instructor

Sadly on the last day of the weekend my friend Caspar fell victim to the poor early season snow fall and broke his leg on a tricky section of boiler plate. He was very well cared for at the local hospital in Zell-am-See, local skibike fanatic Maria Boyerl deserves special thanks for helping out as local fixer.

After the skibike weekend I remained in Zell-am-See for a few extra days in the company of Thierry, Stephane and with Wayne as our guide, we toured the extensive skibiking terrain at Saalbach & HinterglemLeogang and Kitzteinhorn all places that are rated very highly for skibiking.

We were somewhat beaten back by a great deal of poor weather, whiteout conditions and poor snow conditions which didn't make for the best experience. In fact I don't recall any sunny days for the whole of January, just endless gloom.

No sunny days for the whole of January

Back in France I managed a final ride with Thierry and Stephane, but my heart wasn't really in it, I ended the season early and went home to recover.

A final ride in Frnce before ending the season early

Carl Day wisely once said "freestyle skibiking is not for the over 50's", at the time I couldn't concur, there will always be someone who can buck the trend; my sister is running half-marathons in her seventies. But sadly for this "over 50" he has been proved correct, only in recent days have I had the pleasure being able to feel all my finger tips, for the first time in months of gentle recuperation. I shall count my blessings that nothing broke or I might be dictating this article from a wheel-chair or not even on this plane of existence any more.

Freestyle skibiking - not for the over 50's

For these reasons, I have to accept that freestyle skibike riding is simply too great a risk to take in future. The last six years have been the experience of a lifetime, I have met so many incredible people, have had such wicked wheezes and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

My mother told me that this classic Rolling Stones tune was playing when she went into hospital for my birth; it seems oddly appropriate as the theme for the Blog Tour 2015-16.