by G. Kunkel
As cool as they look, peg skibikes are not for everyone. Those with physical limitations, balance issues, altitude endurance problems, obesity, unfamiliarity with snow, and lack of physical conditioning will probably find skibobbing a snow sport better suited for them.
Infirmity, illness, and worn-out knees often mean the end of ski vacations for skiers and snowboarders. That doesn't have to happen. Most anyone who can ride a bicycle can ride a skibob.
Skibobs are ridden sitting down with two short foot skis attached to boots. This design allows four points of contact with the snow and a lower center of gravity. One does not use the foot skis for steering the skibike, only for balance. People rarely fall over when learning them.
They are very easy to learn. Any physically fit person with prior snowsport experience can learn to ride one in four turns - essentially 20 minutes in a small group situation. Those without any snowsport experience may or may not require additional time.
Elderly skiers often approach me out on the ski slopes or in the liftline. Most want to know how hard it is to learn. If I have a guest who has taken one run with me, I'll let them answer. I've sold many skibike lessons that way.
Elderly skiers often state to me that skiing is becoming just too painful and they are about to quit for good. One 72 year old lady from Missouri took a lesson and then bought a skibob. She's now a regular ski vacationer to Winter Park Resort.
This past ski season I had an older gentleman from Missouri take a pegger lesson. He stated that he was moving away from skiing and snowboarding but declined to state why. He struggled throughout the lesson with his balance. Only after I failed him for a pegger license did he mention he had Parkinson's. A skibob is the perfect solution for him.
Not everyone can learn ski or snowboard. Today's obesity epidemic has taken its toll. Overweight people struggle with falling, getting up, balance, and physical condition all while at high altitude in ski school classes. They quickly fall behind other students learning curves, have hard falls, and 90% eventually drop out of the class. Most are frustrated and you can bet they aren't coming back for another ski vacation. Put 'em on a bob and they'll be making laps on green runs in an hour.
Skibikes work well with adaptive programs too. They've been used at the prestigious National Sports Center for the Disabled for decades. Check out their winter and summer programs at their website http://www.nscd.org/
The only people that failed to learn to ride a skibob had other issues. One had an extreme fear of heights and couldn't ride the chairlift. Arm strength can be an issue with heavier equipment when loading on the chairlift.
Skibobs belong at every ski resort these days. The mom who controls the ski vacation planning can now get out on the slopes with her kids instead of staying in the condo. The elderly and those developing infirmities can continue their favorite winter sport activity.
Who would say no to ski vacationers who want to spend money? Ski resorts - survey your guests about them. Ski vacationers - if skiing and snowboarding isn't working for you - there are other options. Money talks in the ski industry. Demand access.
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