The UCI announced last Friday it is aiming to introduce a five round World Cup series for snow bike downhill in 2020. The published press release
focused mostly on cyclocross, XC and BMX developments but snow mountain bike racing was also raised.
There have been many snow bike races in the past (and I have done a couple that were great fun), but to see a UCI sanctioned series is interesting. A 2019 series is already on the UCI calendar
and comprises of three events in Châtel, Vars, and Isola, which are all based in the French Alps. Not mega-exciting so far, but, continue reading the PR and there is mention of a five-round World Cup series to be "held on several continents" in 2020.
The forthcoming races hold a Category 3 status, which means there will be UCI points available to riders and could help them to gain enough points to race World Cup downhill on a real, dirt surface.
The details are pretty sparse so far with only one page of rules in the UCI rulebook
so we spoke to Sébastien Gillot, UCI Head of Communications, about the plans going forwards:
How was it determined that there is a need for a Snow Bike World Cup?
We have heard the interest from the mountain bike community to find an activity for the winter season. While relatively new, snow biking has already demonstrated a significant potential of development. And we are convinced that this thrilling format will soon attract a whole new audience around the world.
What would the courses for these World Cup events look like?
Snow biking events can take place on any pre-existing ski Super-G courses.
What bikes would be outlined for use in these events?
Any kind of mountain bike downhill bicycle can be used.
How will you choose the destinations for these Snow Bike World Cups?
Organisers of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup have already expressed interest to host such events, but in general any interested organiser can apply for such an event.
What do you think? Should snow racing become a staple in the mountain bike calendar, or should it be reserved for the occasional fun race or fat bike festival? Let us know in the comments.