WildSnow Weekend — Waiting For Snow With Haibike

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 20, 2016      
Too dry for a ski quiver? Try a wheel quiver.

Too dry for a ski quiver? Try a wheel quiver.

Day 2: Louie and friends ride the Whole Enchilada, a 36 mile, 7,000 ft., descent: Burro Pass, La Sal mountains down to Sand Flats campground.

Day 2: Louie and friends ride the Whole Enchilada, a 36 mile, 7,000 ft. descent: Burro Pass, La Sal mountains, down to Sand Flats campground. Photo: Julia Dubinina.

Snow is slow in coming to our home mountains in Colorado. We are anxiously waiting.

Before storm cycles settle us into the permanence of winter, the canyonlands of Utah beckon for a few days of mountain biking and camping in the warm desert sun.

We slarve the slopes of slickrock, making turns with rubber instead of ptex. Louie and his friends cruise along on their finely engineered mountain bikes. Lou and I follow on Haibikes, electric assist cycles that make it almost easy for us to keep up with the crew. We even false stroke our egos by cranking past them on steep uphills, thanks to a burst of turbo mode.

One thing lacking when we tested Haibike eBikes for ski touring last spring, was “walk mode,” a slight assist that compensates for the heavy cycle when you must hike-a-bike. We had thought this was only available on European models. We are delighted to report that the new bikes we tested have walk mode. We used it, and still got a good session of cross-training in for ski days ahead.

Enjoying campfire camaraderie,  and dreaming about being together again soon, on the sparkling white slopes somewhere in the mountains.

Enjoying campfire camaraderie, and dreaming about being together again soon, on sparkling white slopes somewhere in the mountains.

Week in review: November 14 to November 18, 2016:

Backcountry Fondue and Ski Touring With Kids

Exped Variety Pack – the Ultimate Pad Review

News Roundup — Election Done, Let Them Ski

Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody — Review

Skialper Magazine — Ski Bindings Testing — Edited Translation


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


45 Responses to “WildSnow Weekend — Waiting For Snow With Haibike”

  1. Patrick Fink November 20th, 2016 9:03 pm

    For a human-powered skiing site, it’s sad to see you guys giving free press to motorbikes. And yes, that’s what they are.

  2. See November 20th, 2016 9:17 pm

    So if older people and younger go for a ride together, is it better if the slower folks get a motorized assist, or if the stronger riders just slow down?

  3. Lenka K. November 21st, 2016 1:12 am

    I thought these were Pedelecs, meaning you had to pedal for the motor to function. So how does this “walk” mode work? Perhaps the next step is “hoverbike”? Irony off.

  4. Matus November 21st, 2016 1:22 am

    Well, I do not care about e-bikes (I am too young to even think about them). But with coming winter and lots of more interesting topics (review of LaListe movie? tips for DIY ski tuning and repairs) I hope that this article is here mainly to get some funding to keep this web running and that it will not happen too often (in such an obvious way. And yes, I am free to skip this article if I do not like it:)

  5. Aaron Mattix November 21st, 2016 6:02 am

    Love me some Whole Enchilada!

  6. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 7:08 am

    Lenka, they are indeed pedelics. Pedal assist. It’s genius, anyone wanting to form an opinion about e bikes should try a pedal assist, they’re not a big deal.

    As for walk mode, it simply applies tiny bit of torque when the bikes is being pushed along instead of ridden. Again, it works really well, not extreme, just enough to overcome the extra weight and a little extra.

    As for human power, the pedal assist bikes as we use them involve plenty of human power, that’s why I have no problem writing about them here, while if they were a motorcycle or throttle ebike I might do a blog post about the experience, but wouldn’t integrate it with our normal content. See our automotive category, which of course isn’t human powered but relates closely to our theme since most people use automobiles to reach ski touring trailheads, from what I’ve seen worldwide.

    All comments about ebikes are appreciated. They’re a lot more controversial here in the U.S. than in the EU, from what I’ve seen. Since the EU is more enlightened than we are, that’s something to ponder (smile).


  7. wtofd November 21st, 2016 7:20 am

    Lou, the problem with e-bikes is they diminish the suffering. I write this on the cusp of Thanksgiving from Puritan (or puritanical, your choice) New England. Happy–but not too happy–Thanksgiving!

  8. slcpunk November 21st, 2016 7:51 am

    Let’s turn the table. What if someone invented an electric powered skin track system that clipped to your skis ( and somehow ) it actually worked to propel you up the skin trail. So would something like that be allowed in non-motorized terrain? Would it weaken the arguments of those trying to protect that terrain from non-motorized use if they were allowed? The EU is more enlightened on many issues, but we would be foolish to think they’ve figured everything out perfectly!

    Mountain bikers are fighting hard to both keep existing and expand access to trails and land. The e-bike issue complicates things immensely, and thus is seen by many as a potential danger. ( it kills the non-motorized aspect of the biking argument, since no matter how you slice it, the electric motor is still a motor in the end. )

    The ebike changes the mountain bike access issue from one were we can talk about a human powered activity to one where we can lumped in with motor cycles quite easily. ( whether you agree that ebikes are motor bikes or not, many people will fail to see the difference — especially those that are fighting to shutdown mountain bike access to trails and land.)

  9. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 7:53 am

    Yeah, the Puritans tried to get out of Europe for a reason? (smile)

  10. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 8:03 am

    SLC, good points. In the end, the “human powered” ethical construct is pretty weak. Perhaps ebikes simply bring that to a head. We’re of course fans of the “human power” ethic and fully agree it produces a lot of value or just plain fun for literally millions of recreators, but sure, electric skins would be an issue. As are snowmobiles already. We do have vast tracts of legal Wilderness in the U.S. where any sort of motor is illegal. That can help define things but gets ridiculous when it requires things like trail upkeep to be done with hand saws. Point being, it’s all in flux, so we shall see.

    In any case, if the struggle with mountain bike access can’t handle new technologies, then it is fundamentally flawed. IMHO. Batteries will get so small they’re easily hidden, as will the motors. When that happens, it will be interesting.

    Me, I think that the speed limited and pedal assisted ebikes fall very nicely into a category that can be accommodated. They’re not a motorcycle, and yes they’re not a 100% human powered bicycle. They’re something different. Call them a pedalic and figure out where they’re allowed and where they are not. And so forth.


  11. XXX_er November 21st, 2016 8:22 am

    so your blog is unclear if you were operating motorized vehicales in a non-motorized area … yes or no?

    Altho i don’t see what a story about a motorized sport (as opposed to using a motor for acess which we all do) is doing on a blog about self propelled sport, as long as you are observing the rules of land use

    you didn’t really do anything wrong

  12. See November 21st, 2016 8:26 am

    I like electric bikes, but I think speed and assist governors are artificial limitations that are easily defeated. Existing technology allows the construction of a motorcycle that looks like a pedalec/pedelec, enforcement won’t be easy.

  13. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 8:27 am

    Xer, apologies, the Slickrock Trail is legal for motorcycles, ebikes and bicycles. There were motorcycle riders and bicycles on the trail when we did it. The trail was founded for motorcycles, actually. Ebikes were not used on Whole Enchilada, not sure they’d be useful as it’s mostly downhill. I have no idea if they’re legal or not on Enchilada. We enjoy the mix of recreation in Moab area, though during high season the ATV traffic has gotten to be a bit much as it has here at Colorado WildSnow Field HQ, not sure why they can’t quiet those down a bit. Political will, I guess. Lou

  14. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 8:35 am

    See, exactly, enforcement will not be easy. Once the battery and motor are hidden It’ll probably end up like what seems like 90% of of our rules and laws regarding “hidden” things that have little effect on other people, enforced only occasionally if at all. Of course, at the same time we could also impliment laws against wealthy individuals who can afford the $30,000 “air bike” that came on the market and is so light it provides a very unfair adantage over the rest of us who can only afford $3000 bikes (smile). Lou

  15. See November 21st, 2016 8:44 am

    So the difference between a “pedalec” and a dirt bike comes down to noise and air pollution, I guess.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 8:56 am

    Not at all. Can you get out and demo a pedalec? Lou

  17. See November 21st, 2016 9:30 am

    Sure, but I thought we were trying to guess where the technology will lead in a few years time. And I’ve ridden and made a few e-bikes, so I know a bit about them. But I’m not sure where I stand on the issue in general, and I definitely don’t know what the situation is in your neck of the woods.

  18. Jeremy C November 21st, 2016 10:32 am

    I think there is more than a little baiting going on with the original article. It reads as man rides ebike to keep up with faster colleagues on mountain bike ride, which hints at controversy. As opposed to man ride ebike up multi use motorised trail, which no one has a problem with.

    It can tell you that ebike are generally disliked in the EU as well. Very much a case of manufacturers making a product, rather that users demanding it.

    The are already plenty of defeat and bypass kits available to get round the pedalling and power/speed limitations. Just search for ebike derestriction.

    Motorised mountain bikes fall into the same category as camera drones, a triumph of Sales and Marketing over common sense.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 11:13 am

    So, we’re riding ebikes in the motorized backcountry recreation capital of the world, and we’re baiting? Eyes of the beholder, for sure. If we were going all over Crested Butte on them, I could see it as baiting, but not here. Lou

  20. Pietro November 21st, 2016 2:40 pm

    Please no more e-bike on this web site! Thanks

  21. Drew Tabke November 21st, 2016 3:19 pm

    Lou is waiting for snow in Colorado.
    Lou goes to ride bikes in the desert with his family.
    Lou posts blog.
    Lou accused of posting sponsored content, promoting motorcycles, illegal use of motorized vehicles, and ‘baiting.’
    How dare you, Lou. 🙄

  22. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2016 3:50 pm


  23. See November 21st, 2016 4:54 pm

    Lou posts on a subject he describes as controversial and invites comments.
    Lou throws in some cracks about Europeans being more enlightened than we are and a little libertarianism for spice.
    Mild controversy ensues.
    God bless America.

  24. XXX_er November 21st, 2016 6:35 pm

    ” I have no idea if they’re legal or not on Enchilada.”

    yeah so does this^^ sound like something we have all heard a motor head say?

    the common excuse for illegal use of motorized vehicles in the BC is “I didn’t know where I was” or “I didn’t know that was illegal” except its up to the user to find out and anyone with enough money to buy a sled/bike/motorcycle can also afford to buy a GPS

    its not going to be hard for a CO to pick out a motorized bicycle the guys I know ride mtn bikes/ BC ski/ own sleds and they are not stupid, as my buddy the CO said “if you are not from around here and you got lost maybe I will believe ya, if you are local …you get a ticket “

  25. Erroneous November 21st, 2016 8:29 pm

    Ha! So much hate for motors. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the upper Enchilada, or the Porcupine Rim Trail, but they are welcome on the Slickrock trail, Porcupine Rim ORV trail, and all of the jeep trails within Sand Flats Recreation area, which is where that photo was taken. There’s plenty of room for all types of recreation in Moab and everybody gets along just fine.

  26. John Carmola November 22nd, 2016 6:13 am

    Just last month there were many posts and comments about fitness regimes and programs to get fit for the upcoming ski season. Pedaling a real bicycle, one that relies on your legs and lungs as the only motor, is an excellent way to stay fit all summer and enjoy the great outdoors. If you can get up the skin track, you can pedal a bike.

  27. Lou Dawson 2 November 22nd, 2016 6:47 am

    Xer, I simply stated a fact, I have no idea what the regs are for Enchilada. Ebikes were not used on Enchilada. Yes, ignorance is no excuse, but I wasn’t making excuses, just stating a fact about my own lack of knowledge.

    Beyond that, there are a ton of trails in Moab where ebikes are legal (all the 4×4 trails, for example). If a person chooses to use one for off-road, it’s a good place to go for that.


  28. XXX_er November 22nd, 2016 9:15 am

    I see places in the parks where you can’t walk cuz they are trying to re-veg an area that has been overused, so using your toys whatever they are while observing the land use rules is no problem but personaly I’d rather read about 2 piece poles than e-bikes

  29. Lou Dawson 2 November 22nd, 2016 9:21 am

    It’s still a blog. We write about what we do. But feedback noted as I gave up writing for only one reader (myself) a long time ago (smile). Lou

  30. Rob November 22nd, 2016 10:16 am

    Thanks for the post, Lou. Your application (to keep up with Louie) would work well for my wife (to keep up with me). We enjoy biking together, but I find it hard to get the workout I am looking for without ditching her on the uphills. Assuming trail use rules are followed, I see this as a good possible compromise.

    Eagerly awaiting snow, however.

  31. Lou Dawson 2 November 22nd, 2016 10:30 am

    Mixed group use is getting quite common, I saw some of that in Europe, road biking. Clearly mixed ages, families. Very appropriate. Still, prevented suffering so perhaps not kosher in some biker’s eyes. Lou

  32. JCoates November 22nd, 2016 1:16 pm

    @ Jeremy C: What part of Europe do you live in where ebikes are disliked? I never got that feeling in Germany or Switzerland and I know quite a few active folks including some mountain guides who use them.

    It seems to me they are just another tool with a specific purpose and that was how Lou was describing them.
    1) Want to keep up with your hard-charging kids or younger friends?
    Why not?
    2) Want to commute to work but usually end up driving your car/truck because otherwise you show up sweaty and smelly because it’s all uphill to your job?
    Why not?

    Ebikes are to mountain biking as slack-country is to touring. Sometimes I like to tour from the parking lot but I am also not opposed to taking a one-way lift to access the goods if I can skip the 4-5 hr approach. I haven’t heard anyone on here spouting off about how starting the Haute route or Spearhead traverse by lift is equivalent to eco-terrorism.

    I am also still guessing there is some of the Dunning-Kruger effect going on here…people having very strong opinions on this subject without any background in the subject matter. That’s just my opinion though.

  33. Jeremy C November 22nd, 2016 2:09 pm

    @JCoates, I’m from the UK, but I know riders elsewhere in Europe with the same views regarding inappropriate use. We already have electric bike riders on non-motorised tracks/paths, because there is no control in place. There was never a real need before, because it is blatantly obvious if someone was on an MX bike.

    Just to be clear I have absolutely nothing against the legal use of electric bikes, I just wish they had stayed as on road commuter devices, rather than racing and mountain bikes. I have no issue with electric bikes being used as a transport device, as you say to negate the long approach. It only becomes an issue, when you turn off the fire road and on to the cycle only single track. How many riders will have the self control not to carry on?

    It is also the ridiculous ease with which the restrictions can be bypassed, that concerns me. I suspect that there are many who having dropped $3000-5000 on their electric bike, will drop another $200 to remove the need to pedal, and to double the top speed. In the UK we are in the stupid situation where buying an e-bike is legal, and buying the restriction defeat device is legal, the situation only becomes illegal when the two are brought together. The defeat devices are being sold as for use on private land only, which the seller and buyer know won’t happen 99.9% of the time.

    Also apologies for the use of incorrect EU, rather than the correct Europe.

    Rant over 🙂

  34. Jeremy C November 22nd, 2016 2:15 pm

    I’m also surprised Lou, that as someone who appears to take apart, modify and enhance everything skiing/mechanical related, wasn’t tempted to make your e-bike go twice as fast.

  35. Lou Dawson 2 November 22nd, 2016 4:21 pm

    Believe me, top speed of the ebike on Slickrock trail was already fast enough to put me in the hospital, multiple times.

    In all seriousness, the way pedelic bikes work is they do have a top speed but they are not a throttle bike. So for me there is not a lot of compulsion to do a speed bypass mod, for mountain biking anyway.

    The throttle bikes are a different story. I can see why people mod them so they are essentially an electric motorcycle.


  36. See November 23rd, 2016 7:42 am

    In my experience, once you get used to a throttle bike, you don’t want to go back.

  37. See November 23rd, 2016 10:42 am

    And by “go back,” I mean go back to a crank sensor electric bike. I prefer 100% human powered for just riding.

  38. jabbaslick November 23rd, 2016 5:43 pm

    You know you’re dealing with ecopurist loons when ebikes are vilified. Too funny. Keep at it though folks, I like the goal of a cleaner earth and we need dramatists on the cutting edge of sanctimonious environut (the “How dare you drive a car!!!” bumper sticker types) misanthropy as well as more pragmatic, diesel truck-driving-but-honest-I’m-not-evil folks like Lou.

  39. Kristian November 25th, 2016 10:45 am

    Hey jabbaslick,
    Really that’s all you got? I’ve got some much better insults I learned in the Navy for people like you.

  40. Kristian November 25th, 2016 11:15 am

    Many of Lou’s authored postings include the word “folks”.

    This does not surprise me.

  41. Pete H November 26th, 2016 1:29 pm

    There are definitely appropriate places online to discuss the ethics of things like ebikes or flying on planes to go ski but I just don’t think wildsnow is the right forum. I really don’t know how Louie has the patience to tolerate such baffoonery.

  42. Jim Milstein November 26th, 2016 8:10 pm

    I want to pull up my socks, roll up my sleeves, gird my loins, and get into this one, but I’m dismayed to find I’ve no opinion. I’m working on it; don’t go away!

  43. See November 26th, 2016 9:05 pm

    Lou apparently has an interest in such buffoonery, and it’s his blog.

  44. Lou Dawson 2 November 27th, 2016 8:28 am

    All, I’m fully on board in terms of not turning THE ski touring blog into a place with endless bickering about values and ethics. On the other hand, a bit of discussion about such things, related to our core subject matter, is valuable in that we end up with a record of our culture’s views, that anyone can read through and have food for thought.

    In terms of specifics, I do know for a fact that some of our downright agonal thought about the ethics of flying in an airplane to go on vacation do look weird to many people. The latest adult 1st world generation are clearly concerned about the environment, but in my experience are very rational and not encumbered by things like baby boomer enviro guilt. Thus, yes, some of this may look stupid to the 20 somethings…


  45. Kristian December 24th, 2016 7:08 pm

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