~~ The annual Purgatory SkiBike Festival (formerly The Skibike America Festival) was held on February 23-27, 2005 at Durango Mountain Resort, in southwest Colorado. Now in it's third year, the event has taken on an international flavor, with around 150 riders attending from the United States, Canada, England and Austria. The Rocky Mountains bid us welcome, and rolled out a magic white carpet...
~~ The snow gods again displayed their approval, offering up a bountiful harvest. A 100"+ base, and more falling each day had everyone in a state of permanent grin. Instant therapy!
~~ A new feature was added this season, a snowcat backcountry expedition. On Thursday, 20 riders packed into two of the behemoths and set course for the hills. From points well above timberline, the slide(s) down were stupendous. Steep and deep, making virgin tracks in the powder, just like in the movies! This skibike excursion was a first for the tour company, and may very well be an international original as well! An adventure to remember...
~~ Skibike manufacturer presence included reps from: Brenter, Crighton, Koski, Slopecycle,
Snowscoot, Stalmach and WinterXbike.
~~ Visitors from lands far far away: Former World Champion and skibike manufacturer Jacek Stalmach again made the trek from Austria. He stayed several weeks offering bike demos, riding lessons and racing advice. Another European was Englishman Kevin Rochfort: FISB representative, Flachsmann skibike dealer, and British Skibike Team member. And, Gerfried Seeber, former World Champion and current international racer from Austria.
~~ Competition events were staged over the weekend (see report below). To compliment the Slalom and MultiCross races carried over from last year, a Freestyle best trick contest was added for spice. There is increasing interest in competitive contests, with much encouragement from our European comrades...
~~ The Festival attracted enhanced media coverage this year: The Durango Herald did pre-event articles, The Denver Post sent a reporter and a TV station crew was on hand to shoot video!
~~ As is the custom, the closing ceremony was held late Sunday afternoon, with race awards being distributed. Mike Sparkman again contributed the grub and DMR the beer. All went well until Ron Mickelberry (Slalom winner) had an emotional meltdown and had to be carried away by men in white coats...
~~ Last, but certainly not least, Coors provided free beer after hours to all skibikers. I guess that would explain the hoards of bikers sprinting towards Purgy's at 4 o'clock!
~~ Another grand success! Safe and secure... It has now become tradition, our yearly pilgrimage to the San Juan's to share our common passion. Again, thumbs up to Durango Mountain and staff! Our appointment for next season: February 22-26, 2006. See you then... ~ ~R.R.
~~ Nearby Telluride Ski Resort hosted a one day Skibike Fest of their own on Monday the 28th. Many riders stayed over for this Festival "extension". A skibike "Enduro" contest was held, and free
MultiCross Action: Left: Gerfried Seeber leads Jacek Stalmach over widow-maker jump, where many riders made intimate contact with the snow. They finished 1st and 2nd as shown
Right: Foot-skiers vs foot-peggers vs foot-boarders. Three types of bikes and riding styles, head to head