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Snowbiking in the mountains

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Anyone who can ride a regular bicycle can learn to ride a snowbike in minutes. These snow toys move on skis rather than wheels. The rider typically sits on a seat. Snowbikes (sometimes called ski-bikes) are available for rent in various ski resorts from Pats Peak in New Hampshire to Colorado’s Durango Mountain Resort and Winter Park. They are well established in European winter resorts as well.

What’s great is that the learning curve is simple. Even if you are not much of a downhill skier, once you mount a snowbike you can head down a beginner bunny slope with almost no fear. The sensation is a bit like riding a recumbent bicycle. You are seated, with your arms at chest level. The handlebars guide the skis. To control your speed, you steer in rhythmic turns, as you would in downhill skiing. When you want to stop, you turn the handlebars sideways and brake with your feet. You don’t need special boots; you can ride a snowbike wearing any warm winter boots.

At Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado, the motto for snowbiking is “all of the fun with half the fatigue.” Lessons and rentals are available to anyone over the age of 12. A half-day snowbike rental is about $35.

Among leading brands, Brenter is probably the biggest and best known. The Austrian company has been in the snowbike business since 1949. Their models are for rent at numerous ski schools nationwide.

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