Skiing and Cycling


We’ve had unseasonably cold and wet conditions for the last few weeks, and that’s meant that our local ski areas – which had a disastrous ski year last year – have opened earlier than the past 20 seasons, so we headed up to Stevens Pass yesterday. Warren Miller has long said that any day on skis beats any day sitting at a desk, but as I was sitting on skyline lift trying to shield myself from the 30 MPH blast of freezing rain scouring my face, I had moments of doubt. But with decent equipment, you can enjoy that sort of thing – in the same sense that once enjoys climbing the zoo.


Anyway, that got me thinking about the similarities between the skiing and cycling. And by “skiing”, I mean “alpine skiing”. Here’s a list I came up with:



  • Rain bike = rock skis. Rather than postponing their activity, both cyclists and skiers maintain dedicated equipment to keep participating when conditions are less than desirable.
  • Snowboarders = drivers with cell phones. Neither of these groups are looking for you, they aren’t very attentive in general, and there is ample reason to suspect that they don’t know that you exist.
  • 40 mph descents
  • Quads
  • Titanium and carbon fiber. Improvements in both are driven by racing, where small changes can make big differences. And not only can amateurs buy gear that’s as good as the pros, they can afford to do so. (Note that “afford” is a relative term)
  • Rigidity and flexibility, the ying and yang of both sports.
  • Tradition. The tour started 1903. The rules for the downhill race were developed in 1921.
  • Hahnenkamm = Alp d’Huez
  • Mountains (and Alps!)
  • Beer
  • 35 degrees and raining sucks


Comments (7)

  1. Tony says:

    Ouch, that’s a cheap shot at the snowboarders.

    Myself, I cycle both on and off-road, plus snowboarding in the winter.

    How snowbarding is like mountain biking?

    Suspension – except on a board, your legs do most of the work.

    Tune-ups – snowboards and mountain bikes both need a lot of upkeep.

    Skiers = Roadies – Skiers, like road cyclists, tend to act superior then and less friendly to their counterparts (and peers).

    Stop and Go – when on a board or mountain bike, I’m always testing my abilities and taking falls, often trying many times through the same "move".

    Hipness – Mountain Bikes and Boards are for the "in" crowd (no good reason for it, but it’s been my observation).

    [a few of the road/ski comparisons work as well]

    Thank goodness roadies and mountain bikes share less terrain then boarders/skiers. The clashes that happen on the mountain can bring out a lot of ugliness in people.

  2. Fun post, but 40MPH? Man, you’re slow! 😉

  3. Paolo Marcucci says:

    I’m more partial to Kitzbuhel and Cortina, but I can’t wait for more snow coming down 🙂

  4. I think that you are going to have to prefix your comments about snowboarders with the phrase "with the exception of Nicholas Paldino", since we have actually skiied/boarded before. =)

  5. Oh, and I’m going to Whistler in February as well. =)