Action County: Clark Stoneback
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Clark Stoneback, the lead snow-bike instructor at Keystone, hasn’t skied in six years.
Since learning how to snow bike and becoming an instructor, the 68-year-old doesn’t want to do anything else.
“I feel like I have more control than I have on skis,” he said. “I even go down black diamond ski runs. I wouldn’t do that on skis.”
Stoneback started skiing in 1961 when he lived in Denver, but he moved around a lot ” to places that didn’t offer skiing.
After he retired and moved to Keystone year-round in 2002, he got involved with ski bikes and started teaching lessons.
Stoneback just completed his sixth season as an instructor, and he’s taught almost 2,000 people.
“It’s a lot easier than learning how to ski,” he said, “because you’re sitting down low. If you fall, you’re going to fall about two feet.”
A snow bike consists of a seat with two skis underneath it. The biker wears ski boots, too ” two-foot skis clamp onto the boots. People on snow bikes can also take the chair lift ” the bikes hook onto the side of a chair.
To take a snow-bike lesson, normally someone must be at least 13 years old, though Stoneback once taught a large 11-year-old.
“I taught an 85-year-old how to bike a few years ago,” he said. ” … That gives him the ability to keep up with his great-great-grandchildren on the mountain.”
After one two-hour lesson, the student is then awarded a snow bike ID. The ID allows snow-bike rentals for $25 per day.
Two-hour long snow-bike lessons were $49 this past season. Prices for lessons may change next year. Stoneback, on average, teaches 250-260 people yearly.
This year, 376 people took lessons. The classes operate out of Keystone’s tubing hill.
According to Stoneback, Keystone has 20 snow bikes in its fleet, and they offer two other instructors. Snow-biking has been around in Europe for many decades, but Keystone’s program has only been running at its current capacity since Stoneback started teaching.
Stoneback also competes in snow-bike races. Durango’s Purgatory holds a yearly snow-bike race that attracts approximately 150 snow-bikers from all over the world.
During summer months, Stoneback is a ranger at The River Course at Keystone, a golf course.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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