An Overview of Tngnt Ski Bikes
Last week I had the privilege of throwing a leg over one of our Tngnt ski bike demos up at Brighton Resort. This was only the second time I have ever ridden one, and it certainly did not disappoint. Below is an overview of the ski bike as well as a review to help inform you of this rapidly growing category in winter sports.
What is a ski bike?
Ever wish your mountain bike had skis on it so you could shred down a resort run in the winter? Well I certainly have, and that’s essentially what a ski bike is. Technically, there are three types: Type I - the “ski bob” where you have skis on your feet and the bike, Type II - basically a bike with skis instead of wheels, and Type III - a tripod type bike with two skis in the back to stand on and one in the front to steer. Type II ski bikes provide the most similar feel to a mountain bike as you stand on pegs and are therefore not in direct contact with the snow. At Guthrie’s we demo and sell type II ski bikes from Tngnt. They offer two models, the Drift (hardtail) and the Carve (full suspension).
From left to right: Tngnt Drift and Tngnt Carve Type II Ski Bikes
Guthrie's Chute at Copper Mountain is the perfect place to shred
Where can I ride a ski bike?
Ski bikes are most commonly ridden at lift-service ski resorts alongside skiers and snowboarders. However, not all resorts allow ski bikes. As of now over 150 resorts across the U.S. allow ski bikes, including most Vail Group Resorts (Park City, Vail, Northstar, and others). Locally you can ride them at Brighton, Park City, Beaver, Powder Mountain, Sundance, and Snowbasin. For a complete list of ski bike friendly resorts, visit https://americanskibike.com/ride-1.
How do they ride?
Let me start off by saying that ski bikes are not mountain bikes. They may look similar, but overall you have much less control, especially considering there are no brakes. The best way I can describe it is that ski bikes have a much more “drifty” feel compared to a mountain bike. If you have ever dragged your back tire through loose terrain on a bike you know what I’m talking about.
Riding a ski bike is similar to snowboarding in that you are going from edge to edge to make turns, just standing forwards instead of sideways. Keeping your weight toward the front of the bike is key to maintaining control, as it allows the front edge to cut through the snow and initiate a turn. For the first few runs I often had to drop my inside foot down to maintain balance and force the edges to grab. This wasn’t exactly easy - on more than one occasion I slipped out or caught an edge, bucking me off the bike. Once I got the hang of it though I had a blast venturing off the groomers, especially on the Tngnt Carve (full suspension). Having a shock in the rear really adds to that mountain bike feel. Rather than soaking up bumps with my legs like I do when I’m skiing, I was able to plow straight into chunky terrain and let the bike do its thing. Nevertheless, I think the best conditions for ski bikes exist on wide groomed runs with a few inches of fresh on top. The groomer will provide a nice stable surface to turn on while the new snow makes it easier for edges to dig in and provide some cushion if you fall. Here's some clips of myself and other Guthrie crew members ripping around Brighton this winter on our demos...
Overall, ski biking is an awesome sport to get into and is growing rapidly. I feel like each time I go up to the mountain I always see more of them, and it’s a great way to supplement your winter skiing/riding habits. Mountain bikers will love the similarities and feel a ski bike has to their normal mountain bike. At Guthrie’s we have demos of Tngnt Ski Bikes at both stores, stop by to try one out!
- Devin Keefe