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Sport Alternative: Skibobbing

Sport Alternative: Skibobbing

By Sam Kienzle

Competitive skibobber in action. (Photo from ski-bike.org).

 

The body of a bike with snow skis attached—instead of wheels—has been around since 1892.  As an organized sport, the magnificent creation of skibobbing began in 1954 with an international race.  Organizers of the winter sport created the FISB (Fédération Internationale de Skibob) in 1961, and in 1967 started the annual Skibobbing World Championships.

The skibob itself (sometimes called a ski bike) looks much like the frame, handlebars, and seat of a BMX bike with a stationary ski on the back, and a steerable shorter ski on the front. Skibobs typically range from 6.2 to 7.5 feet in length and are made of wood, plastic, or lightweight aluminum. The rider of the skibob wears mini skis on his or her feet to aid in steering and balance.

On May 2nd, 1999, Romuald Bonvin of Switzerland set one of the first records for highest speed on a skibob at 108 miles per hour in Les Arcs, France.  Today, skibobs have been known to reach speeds of up to 120 miles per hour or more in both competition and leisure.

Skibobber takes a jump on the slopes alongside traditional skier. (Photo from ski-bike.org).

 

Historically, skibobbing has been dominated by Nordic people of high alpine regions in countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, and Austria.  World record holders for individual titles have frequently hailed from Austria, with Petra Tschach-Wlezcek holding four female individual titles and Walter Kronseil holding three male titles, both claiming their victories in the late 1980s and early 90s.

Skibobbing originally began as a means of transportation in the Alps. Today the sport’s popularity has spread to wherever there are mountains and abundant powder.


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