We’ve all seen bicycles with skis where the wheels should be. Typically, they seemingly take the form of some kid’s DIY garage build for neighborhood shred sessions. Rarely taken seriously, my first thoughts when I see these contraptions is ‘Great, some kid’s fixing to catch a handlebar to the teeth, or a bike frame to the family jewels.’ But a company called Sno-Go has a very different perspective on ski bikes, and they aim to revolutionize the world of ski-cycling.
Sno-Go has pretty much taken the entire idea of a ski-bike, and built one that is completely practical and usable in any condition. From tree-runs to pow-days, these guys have built a bike for any application. Ski-bikes have been around for many years, but there’s never been one with so many different technologies integrated into the design. The Sno-Go comes complete with shocks, bindings, and ski articulating technology that was created specifically for a ski-bike design.
“This sport is just getting started,” Obed Marrder, co-founder of Sno-Go, told The Inertia. “We are changing the way people think about playing in the snow, and we like to think our bikes are a much-needed breakthrough in winter sports.”
The Sno-Go was born out of necessity for Marrder and his partner Chase Wagstaff. They grew up in Utah, loved hitting the hills on their mountain bikes, but never really got into skiing or snowboarding. Once they finally got sick of being stuck inside all winter, they gave snow-cycling a shot, due to their mountain biking backgrounds (they were those kids doing the garage builds). They fell in love with the concept but knew the design was far from efficient. Not to mention that many resorts didn’t even allow ski-bikes to be used on their lifts. After putting their heads together, they realized the potential at hand – to create a ski-bike that was safe, practical, and easy to use at any skill level. After several months of development, the Sno-Go was born.
We got sick of hibernating and decided to try ski biking,” Marrder said. “We spent that winter riding as much as we could and finally for the first time in our lives we understood the excitement skiers and snowboarders feel when snow is falling. Even though we were having a blast on our new ski-bikes, we recognized, the flaws in design and functionality and it wasn’t hard to see why certain resorts didn’t allow ski-bikes on their hills.”
There are several features that make the Sno-Go better than any other ski-bike on the market. First of all, there are three skis. So I guess it’s more of a ski tricycle. But what makes this so effective is that all three skis are articulated – they will move with the contour of the mountain as the rider leans left and right. This allows the rider to keep all three edges of the skis in contact with the snow, so riding doesn’t turn into some difficult balancing act. They call this technology S.L.A.T – Synchronized Lateral Articulating Technology.
The Sno-Go also has bindings for each foot. They don’t completely lock in your feet, making them difficult to get out of, but they provide a sturdy place to put your foot in order to control the rear-end of the bike. Another cool feature is the front suspension fork. The Sno-Go has RockShox suspension, just like one you’d find on a mountain bike. This makes your ride a lot smoother and more forgiving.
To address the concerns of ski resorts, Sno-Go added a few extra features to make things more friendly for lifts and other mountain users as well. A chairlift hook has been placed on the frame of the bike, allowing the rider to easily and comfortably get their bike up the hill, without taking up any extra space on the lift or pissing off other riders. There’s even a leash that doesn’t allow the bikes to slide down the hill without you, in the event that you eat it.
So it’s settled that this thing is pretty ahead of its time. But let’s face it – who would make the switch from the widely accepted sports of snowboarding or skiing, over to the obscure trend of snow-cycling? Seems like there’s not really a huge market for growth. I asked Marrder and he addressed that:
“I think Sno-Go will be popular with anyone looking for something fun in the snow,” Marrder said. “We want to help grow the industry by attracting those who wish to participate in winter sports but aren’t yet. Arguably the best part of Sno-Go is the learning curve. Most people pick it up in one or two runs. That’s why we believe we can get more people up on the hills. Anyone can go up and not have to worry about getting hurt or spending the whole day on the bunny hill.”
Hard to say whether the sport will take off but the Sno-Go was definitely built with good intentions in mind: namely, having fun.