I found this video yesterday on Vimeo. The reporter was anxious to tell about this new activity permitted at Vail but he forgot to do one thing. He never took a lesson to learn how to control it. Like many, he underestimated the need to learn the basics of skibiking.
He did have fun however.
Before taking off on a bike at Vail or anyplace else, do yourself a favor and take a lesson. You'll be in control and present a more positive image of the sport. Like it or not, people will judge the sport on how well you present it. Eyes will be watching you at all times.
The reporter struggled throughout his broadcast to keep the bike speed in check. His main method of speed control was by dragging his feet in the snow. Doing the 'Fred Flintstone' only works at slow speed. I cannot sign off on licenses for students who can only use this method for stopping. It's not safe.
The better methods for speed control are either skidded traverses or skidded turns. You should never have to "just kinda have to point it and hope for the best" as stated in the video.
Knowing the proper stance would help too. He intermittently tries to ride it as a skibob and as a pegger. He wasn't wearing foot-skis which probably would have helped him alot as he was sitting down for the most part. He could have then used them to stop like a skier.
Knowing the basic riding rules at Vail or any other ski resort is a necessary fact. According to the video, Vail Daily "On the Hill' correspondent John LaConte borrowed a person's skibike and then took off down the hill. Worse yet, it's a conversion kit bike - those are banned at Vail.
Mr. LaConte also failed to wear his leash which is required by Vail Resorts. You can see it just swinging around underneath the bike in the video - unused. I'm not a big fan of leashes but I don't want to see access taken away at Vail.
I've had some open honest dialogue with John, pointed out a few of his errors, and let him know I'm glad he had fun. He's invited me to do a morning broadcast at Vail and offer the basics of safe skibiking and why manufactured skibikes are the safer option. I've accepted and will have to work out a date.
If you skibike at Vail, don't follow the example set in this video. Take a lesson and know how to slow down, stop, where to safely stop, and use a leash.
By the way January 19 - 27 is National Safety Awareness Week at National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) member resorts. Know the Responsibility Code and win prizes at participating locations.
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