Unmissable® Events, Sports

Forget skiing, why not bike down the slopes of the Alps instead

Rated 4.4/5 Unmissable Factor

There’s a new way to hurl yourself down a mountainside. Forget skiing and snowboarding. It’s all about whirling through the snow on two wheels. Every year, a glitzy ski resort town in Switzerland puts on the Snow Bike Festival to show you exactly how fun this can be.

Snow Bike Festival takes place in the picture perfect Swiss ski resort. The main event of the festival is the three-day stage race. Entering into this means signing up for rides that are 35 – 50 kilometres in length. There are anywhere between 600 – 1000 metres of climbing over about four hours of cycling a day. And, there’s an eliminator night race to keep you on your toes.

No doubt, this sounds pretty intense going. But be reassured, you don’t need any experience with a snow bike. After all, a mountain biker with average fitness would be able to tackle these runs. Not to mention, there’s a softer landing for any tricks.

In order to attempt this level of cycling in the snow, you can’t just use any bike. No no. You need a snow bike. The wheels on these frames are special wide tyres. Of course, this means lots of traction. And consequently, less slipping and sliding. Thank goodness!

While the development of these bikes took place in the late 1940’s, this sport is only just gaining momentum. And why not, as it’s a great way to mountain bike all year round.

And if you don’t fancy skidding around the icy corners in the three dayer, there’s the Fun Ride for you to enter. Even though it lasts only two hours, it manages to squeeze in all the best parts of the longer race. And you can use any sort of bike to get down it.

Or, if you’re more about the apres-ski then it’s the Snow Bike Party you want to head for. Gstaad puts on quite a mountain party, we hear. And the best hangover cure is obviously a ride in the snow.

It’s no surprise that snow bikers picked Gstaad as their European hotspot. The alpine resort has mountains and glaciers that rise up to 3000 metres. And the villages are between 1000-1400 metres above sea level. This means there’s 220 kilometres of ski slopes to discover whether you’re on two skis, two wheels or any other snow transport that takes your fancy.

Careering around icy corners, skidding across ski slopes and hurling ourselves down the Alpine mountains on two wheels sounds like the ultimate way to tackle the slopes. We’ll be freewheeling all the way to the finish line.

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Where:

This up-and-coming event takes place in Gstaad, Switzerland

When:

Snow Bike Festival is on every January

What you need to know:

As this sport is on the rise, this is a great time to get into it and be the first on the scene. Certainly, this is a great chance to see the stars of tomorrow testing their snow skills today.

Article by:

Laura Stevens

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