Bike Cross is a newer winter motorsport in which riders drive snowbikes on courses with ramps and sharp turns, similar to its summer equivalent motocross.
The bikes themselves are a cross between snowmobiles and dirt bikes. They’re essentially mini-snowmobiles built out of motorcycle frames, with the rear wheel replaced by a long trailing caterpillar track and the front wheel replaced by a ski. As of now, most athletes in the sport convert their own dirt bikes into snow bikes with specialty kits.
Snowbikes are lighter and have better maneuverability than snowmobiles. They’re easier to make tighter turns and allow riders to weave through narrow lines and launch more technical jumps. Much like dirt bikes, riders can use their weight and lean into turns.
Snow BikeCross made its X Games debut at Aspen in 2017, featuring many athletes who also race or ride dirt bikes in warmer weather. The X Games also had a Snow Bike Best Trick event.
Canada has its own national event called the Snow Bike MX Championship. And smaller independent events are starting to pop up as the sport grows, such as Jackson Hole’s King of the Hill event at the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb.
The idea of a hybrid snowmobile-dirt bike was invented by an American in Idaho named Vernal Forbes. He had the idea of taking an existing motorbike, removing the wheels and converting it into a snow vehicle with skis and tracks. He took a ride on his first prototype snowbike in 1998 and then launched the 2Moto and the Radix snowbike conversion kit in 2007. Timberseld is one of the most popular conversion kits today.
Similar to snowmobile and motocross events, snowbike competitions include races, best tricks and freestyle. At X Games’ Snow Bikecross, riders compete on a closed-course track lined with rollers (think: large speed bumps), jumps and bermed corners (turn banks). Riders race each other on a 10-lap course and the top six advance to the final. The final is 20 laps.