This is a first for me. It’s a grayish weekday after one of the first real snowstorms hit Colorado, and while I’m not surfing through buckets of powder, the snow at Winter Park is still good—soft and cool. That’s not the new part for me, though; I’ve shredded these heavenly hills plenty of times before on fiberglass skis and knobby tires.

The new part is that I’m astride, well, three skis. Instead of ski poles, I clutch handlebars. This is ski biking, and I’m on a new Sno-Go rig, which was sized and tuned for me at the official Sno-Go Ride Center at Winter Park—one of only a handful in the country.

“Focus on leaning forward, and it’ll kind of work itself out,” Sno-Go cofounder Chase Wagstaff tells me. He’s at Winter Park today, ripping laps with newbies like me. “You can’t be too forward,” he says as he shifts from side to side, demonstrating how the ski bike moves. Winter Park offers guided ski-bike tours with instructors for $99, and I am lucky enough to ride with Wagstaff, who goes over the basics with me again.

Ski bikes are growing in popularity around the country—you’ll see some version of them at most major resorts. There are different types and styles, though. Some, like those from SkiByk or Colorado’s Lenz, use two skis, one mounted in front of the other, which are generally best for more advanced riders. But the geometry of the Sno-Go, which Wagstaff and his partner founded in 2016, is a little more like a tricycle, making it easier for most folks to use. The front ski is mounted on a suspension fork like a mountain bike and the rear skis swivel on pivots that are anchored parallel to the bike frame.

The wider platform is more stable than a true ski bike and therefore easier to learn on (like training wheels). To slow down or stop, you turn the bike up the slope or make short hip throws to scrub speed. The Sno-Go has a hang bar that extends off the frame for easy loading and unloading on the chairlift (it latches to a hook on the back of the chair). With other ski bikes, you typically have to lift them and hold them upright—not so with the Sno-Go.

Riding Sno-Go ski bikes at Winter Park
Riding Sno-Go ski bikes at Winter Park. Photo courtesy of Sno-Go

But unlike a kid’s trike, a Sno-Go ski bike isn’t the sort of equipment you’d grow out of. Sure, it’s easier to learn on, but with three points of contact to the snow, more experienced riders can turn quicker without overcorrecting and speed through glades and moguls faster than on a more traditional ski bike. The best riders—like Wagstaff—can even maneuver Sno-Go ski bikes through terrain parks and perform tricks.

Riding Sno-Go ski bikes at Winter Park
Riding Sno-Go ski bikes at Winter Park. Photo courtesy of Sno-Go

Wagstaff continues: “Dig your edge in and make sure your weight distribution is good. Really press that downhill leg—that’s when you really start to manhandle the thing.”

With snowboard boots on, I step into the binding on my right foot and gently push off the snow with my left foot before stomping into the other binding (the bindings are like toe clips on old road bikes). The next thing I know, I’m floating down the green slope, leaning side to side to carve across the corduroy and sending baby plumes of snow behind me.

The learning curve is minimal, and before long I’m arcing across the groomer, dipping in and out of the spruce and pine woods that line the slope. I try hopping and even spinning around, managing a couple 180s with ease (the ski bike is a little over 30 pounds). Shocks in both the front and back smooth out the bumps in the hardpack and give me confidence to go a little faster—this thing is fun.

My overconfidence gets the best of me on one occasion: I swivel my head without turning my body at the shoulders and hips, and I fall hard, like missing a turn on my mountain bike. The snow dampens my fall better than pavement or rocks on a bike, but I still smash my shin against the hard metal of the equipment, which does not feel great. A breakaway leash keeps the Sno-Go close by, and so I mount again and am cruising back down the hill quickly.

The Sno-Go ski bike lets me glide like I’m on skis, but I notice that the way I hold my body and the way I balance are more akin to mountain biking. It helps meet that mountain biking fix I yearn for in the dead of winter, and I start daydreaming about how much fun it’d be to get a group of friends together to do a party ride.

Riding Sno-Go ski bikes at Winter Park
Riding Sno-Go ski bikes at Winter Park. Photo courtesy of Sno-Go

Winter Park isn’t the only resort in Colorado to allow ski bikes—nearby Keystone lets you take them up lifts, too. So do Aspen and Eldora. Wagstaff says there are 20 or so ski areas in the state and 250 across North America that permit ski bikes, and interest is only growing. “We have millions of people learning about us right now,” he says. He’s working to get Sno-Go brand ski bikes at more resorts across the country and help familiarize people with the sport.

Though Winter Park is the only Colorado spot with the Sno-Go Ride Center—where you can get equipment, a lift ticket, and a lesson all on-site—you can bring a different ski bike to the hill. If you rented one off-site—say at Aspen Ski Bike, Colorado Ski Bikes, or a Lenz distributor—you could use it on the mountain with your standard day pass. Other Colorado resorts have similar policies (though always check ahead of time).

As I cruise to the bottom of the groomer, I’m stoked. And ready to try a blue.