Friday, March 10, 2017

Skibikes at the National Sports Center for the Disabled

by G. Kunkel

Skibikes are an integral part of the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado.  They are so popular that the NSCD equipment manager buys up most K2 Snowcycles that he finds listed locally on Craigslist.

The snowcycles are very versatile so they can accommodate a wide range of adaptive athletes who come through the skibike program.  One can attach tethers behind the bikes for control or add pads to the seat for stability.

These skibikes can be ridden either like a skibob with foot skis or as a freestyle bike.  Riding it as a skibob with foot skis provides a platform with a lower center of gravity and a very quick learning curve for most anyone.

ABC News was at NSCD recently and filmed this report:


 These skibikes are much more affordable than many other adaptive devices.  A sit-ski runs about 10k while a skibike can be purchased for significantly less.

K2 Snowcycles are no longer manufactured but there were significant numbers of them produced.  Most are now sitting unused in garages or in an unknown warehouse.

While one can no longer order parts from a manufacturer, replacement parts can still be obtained or work-arounds can be devised.  NSCD has found ways to fit new skis onto their skibikes.

The seat covers for most of the fleet were pretty torn up last season.  I took one seat home and cut a pattern for it.  The seats were then all recovered in arctic vinyl which should be much more durable than the original.  I donated my time and labor to the program.



If one wants to support this wonderful program, they are always looking for volunteers.


© 2017 G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.Google

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2017 Skibike NASTAR

by G. Kunkel

Skibikes still have their own division in NASTAR.  The program is barely hanging on though at Winter Park Resort.  The program fees for the ski resort are expensive (like 20k) and the course is run entirely by volunteers.

Last season I ran my skibike down the race course just for jollies.  Freestyle bikes are not really made for this.  Skibobs are.

Anyway, I took a run down the course on Sunday just for kicks.  I didn't try too hard as the course was really icy and crashing was not on my menu.

It snowed pretty good Sunday night and they groomed the course really nice.  So I decided to try it again.

Ski School employees get one free run per day otherwise it's $10 for unlimited runs.  I had to choose between lunch or NASTAR.   I made one free run on Monday.

I decided to run this attempt flat out.  Hardly anyone had taken runs on it so the course was in great shape.  Few, if any, ruts.

After charging the start gate, I got into a tuck and attacked the gates.  Didn't hit any though.

I got to the bottom and performed a skidding hockey stop with rooster tail.   The results were quickly annouced over the PA system.

Another Platinum NASTAR Medal for me.



After going up the Prospector lift,  I headed back to the start shack to collect my medal.  It's nice and hefty this year.

When I got home, I found out that was the last day to qualify for the NASTAR National Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.    And my time qualified.

The next morning I had a "Congratulations" banner on my race record.   The skibike women's division handicaps are all pretty tight together.  There's some good competition there this year.

The entry fee is $199.  That does not include lift tickets.   That does not matter for me as my employee pass is direct to lift there.  The entry fee is another matter - not in my budget.

Skibikers can still obtain discretionary entries.   Just ask management.  The address is on their website.

© 2017 G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Google

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Skibike article in the Summit Daily News

by G. Kunkel

A year ago I contacted the sports editor of the Summit Daily News after he published an article on skibobs. Some of his information was correct and some of it was not. I invited him to come learn more.

Last week he sent me an email to take me up on my offer. He wanted to do a follow-up article on freestyle (peg) skibikes and learn some about the people who do it.

I posted up an invitation last week on the Facebook Snow bike/ Ski Bike Group for riders.   Devin Lenz and Rich Mayer quickly responded.  After a flurry of messaging, phone calls, and emails - we were set for Wednesday morning at Keystone Ski Resort.

After meeting up at the Wooley Mammoth parking lot in Morrison, we loaded up the bikes in Devin's truck and headed out to Summit County, Colorado.
Skibiking at Keystone. Photo courtesy of Summit Daily News
We met Phil Lindeman  and his photographer Louie near the gondola and unloaded the bikes.  He got some basic skibike terminology and background information on each rider.  We then loaded on the gondola.

At the top, the group was quickly approached by a ski patroller and a safety patroller.  They wanted to know more about the bikes as they had never seen them before.  As usual, we got stared at by skiers and snowboarders on the mountain.

After a brief refresher on freestyle skibiking, Phil was set to venture out on ski runs.  They got lots of photos and video for their skibike article.  They asked more questions as well.

After two hours of riding around, Phil and Louie had to move on to their next assignment.  So we said our farewells.

We stayed and rode around for the rest of the day.  Conditions were pretty firm and icy.  Not really enjoyable but did provide challenges that I normally avoid.  We stopped for some lunch and then headed back out.

After going down the steepest, most icy, black diamond run down the front side, I decided that it was a day for me.  I hung out on a bench while Devin and Rich made a few more runs.  Another Lenz Sport rider came flying through while they were off riding.  Couldn't figure out who it was.

We then headed home all the while discussing what a pretty day it was.  Better than spending a day in the office.

The completed skibike article can be found online at the Summit Daily News website.

© 2017 G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.Google

Monday, February 6, 2017

Wax those skis and stop sticking to the snow

by G. Kunkel

When very cold weather strikes, some are puzzled why their skibike slows down.  Most likely it depends upon what is on the bottom of your skis.

Having the right temperature rated wax on your skis for the current conditions can make all the difference.  While universal temperature wax works most of the time, it fails at sub-zero temperatures.

Photo courtesy of George F. Davis and the thermometer at his house.
If one wants to glide effortlessly across the snow at 10 degrees below zero F, you'll need different wax on the ski base.  Read the product insert or most are green colored waxes.

A good cold temp wax is either the Purl Green or Purl Blue wax.  You'll need a wax iron, wax, and a plastic scraper to make it happen.  Both these waxes are environmentally friendly as well.

It doesn't take much was to get the job.  However, buying in bulk is cheaper in the long run.  Buy the 1 pound bar and you'll be set for a few seasons of sliding on snow.

If one is not up to waxing, well there is always happy hour at the local bar.  When it is really cold and windy, that's sometimes the best option.  The Thai wings at The Winter Park Pub are really tasty.

Wax can be purchased online or at your local shop.  Don't count on the shop tuning and waxing skibike skis.  They don't fit real well into some of the machines and they'll need to be hand-tuned.

 © 2017 G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.Google