How do we all grow the sport of SkiBiking?
I get asked this question all the time and get advise from all kinds of new riders. Most of my customers fall in love with the sport after they get a taste riding with me in our Utah Mountains. They are amazed why it isn't more popular. It takes time to grow any new sport and the great news is SkiBiking is seeing a renaissance in the Winter sports scene and is indeed growing. We rent more and more bikes each season here and I enjoy seeing so many new riders join us each year. I have seen the growth first hand and I'm proud to be contributing to that excitement!
Fueling this growth is a complicated process with many pieces of the puzzle needed to fuel this forward momentum. The first steps are pretty obvious, but easier said than done. First, we need to convince more ski areas to allow us to ride on their mountains. As this number grows, so will the demand for more SkiBikes. This should continue to stimulate the SkiBike companies to build more product, diversify their lineups, and continue improving their technology.
Both of these critical first steps are taking place right now thanks to the efforts of a great non-profit group called the American SkiBike Association. www.americanskibike.com This is a volunteer group representing riders, manufacturers, retailers, resorts and rental shops across the US and Canada. They do tons of work reaching out to Ski Areas each year presenting our sport at trade shows and in-person working to convince the resorts that we are safe, fun, easy to learn, and a good business move to allow riding. Collaboration is the key and it's working by helping convince more ski areas not to treat us like snowboarders in the 1980s. We are definitely a different demographic they should consider. Vail Resorts is a good example of a group of resorts that values our business and has taken a lead in welcoming our group. The Association added 14 new areas to the the list of "SkiBike Friendly" areas just this past year. The count now is well over 100 resorts that allow riding!
One other critical piece is for us all to continue to set an example of safe and responsible riding while we are on the hill. Ski areas are still primarily worried that we could be riding out of control or don't know how to stop. They are also concerned that we know how to ride the lifts safely. These are the first two things all SkiBikers learn!
We all know that these barriers are easy to overcome, but too may of us take this for granted. We all need to thank a lift attendant, a ski patroller, or instructor and tell them how much we appreciate the privilege to ride on their mountain. As we march into this season, I see our growth continuing and the sport of SkiBiking fulfilling it's potential as a great new offering at ski areas across the country.