Mountainbiker vs Snowboarder - The Story

Dec 28, 2011 at 19:01
by Mike Dutton  

Over 15 million people have now watched Freerider Andi Brewi's incredible race against World Champion Snowboarder Gian Simmen. I thought it might be fun to give everyone a bit of an inside look into what it took to pull off an event like this, and the rider that made it happen. See the full video below!

When Spank Industries Pro Freerider Andi Brewi contacted me some time ago, and told me he had challenged Gian Simmen, a two time World Champion and Olympic gold medalist snowboarder, to a DH Race on the snow covered slopes of Ischgl Tirol Austria, I thought perhaps that last concussion maybe did a little more damage than he was admitting. Then, when he upped the anti and offered to do it LIVE in front of 15 million viewers on Germany's most popular TV show, Wetten Dass...?, we started to worry maybe he had just gone a little mad.

If you've ever met Brewi, you know he isn't the type to do anything half way. The thought of Andi pushing himself past the limits, at an estimated 90+ km/hr, on a track better suited for ice skates, actually started to scare us a bit. But, Andi is a confidence inspiring individual, and after hearing more about his well detailed plans, we couldn't resist being a part of history in the making.

It wasn't easy putting something like this together. Recently on the same show, a contestant paralyzed himself attempting to jump over a line of cars, and needless to say the producers were more than a little nervous about getting back into bed with another extreme sports character...especially one ranting about hitting 25m snow jumps on a bike at highway speeds. Andi actually had to prove himself off camera on the big Free-ski kickers at the Hintertux glacier in Austria before he got the green light to compete on the show's season finale hosted by Germany's most famous entertainer, Thomas Gottschalk.

Well...as they say, "If you've gotta go...might as well go out with a bang!"


Due to the bad snow conditions, park builder Klaus Marco only start building 2 weeks before the show. The first time Andi actually got to test pilot the track, it was just over a week before the show. It was really tough for everyone to build and maintain a course that was not only fast enough for the massive jumps, but also fair for both bikes and boards, and calm enough not to scare off the TV crew. In Andi's own words though, "I was happy my opponent Gian Simmen was pretty much the best guy ever to work with. We wanted the course to work perfectly for both of us and have a fair race. Klaus Marco, his shapers and the whole Crew of Ischgl supported us super well and we had a course that was amazing to ride! The responsible people working for the German TV channel ZDF were a little worried about the speeds we were riding and distances we were jumping, but after they watched us practicing and hanging out together they were happy to see us as a team and tried to set up the cameras the way it looks less dangerous."


On the day of the big event, mother nature did her best to put everyone on edge. After praying for snow for weeks, it came at the worst possible time, and with the snow came wind. It was all that Andi and Gian could do to get a few practice runs in, and the fresh snow made conditions unpredictable and dangerous. Luckily about two hours before start time, the weather ceased, and builders got to work on removing loose snow. After a brief meeting between riders and crew, they agreed to concentrate mainly on the snowboard line as loose conditions actually started to favor the bike. Just in time for the 6000+ spectators that turned out to watch the race, and the millions tuned in to see it live on TV...it was on!


bigquotesThe countdown started and I was really focused. Four jumps before the finish line I was pretty much head to head with Gian, which had never happened in practice, so I knew I could win it if I kept my speed. The long straight at the end was definitely to my advantage, because I could pedal and the new snow wasn't the best for the snowboard. I finished just 0.64 sec. in front of Gian! The crowd, including my family and friends, went crazy on the mountain and the party continued late into the night in downtown Ischgl - Andi Brewi



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108 Comments

  • + 38
 The biker jumped the gate, pedaled down the start and the finish was definetly made for him. Without those 3 things it wouldn't have even been close. Having said all that, it was still pretty cool to see the biker hold his own in the soft stuff. I wonder if it was icy would the biker have been much faster?
  • + 9
 it was less thn a second between them even though he had all these advantages, so he probably wouldnt have won without them
but idk the mtb won Big Grin and thats all that matters Razz
  • + 84
 so you're not allowed to pedal on a bicycle..
  • + 16
 the rider wasnt even pinning it the whole time.
  • + 16
 and he had the outside line on the only turn in the course
  • + 15
 Just because the biker made it out of the gate faster than the snowboarder did doesn't mean that he jumped the gate.
  • + 24
 He didn't jump the gate, he had a good start. U can see the line painted in the snow that you had to stay behind before the beep. He was behind it until it beeped. Its completely fair that the biker should be able to pedal because he's got tires that slow him down. The snowboard will go much faster than the bike, since it's in its intended environment, the snow. The only thing I don't agree with was that ending. The flat part rigged it. Really cool race though it was close!!
  • + 61
 Okay, now lets see a snow boarder on a DH track!
  • + 8
 imagine a rock garden Wink
  • + 2
 the biker only won by a little over half a second, wouldn't say it was rigged...
  • + 5
 Oh man, Don't bring Palmer out of retirement, we know how that ended last time.... Palmer FTW. Ken
  • + 1
 Turns out that in the practice runs the boarder won. But a little fresh snow before the race run changed it up.
  • + 3
 Sand Dune redemption race?
  • + 2
 Agreed.
" the biker should be able to pedal because he's got tires" ???? Wrong...
the biker should be able to pedal because he can.
  • + 14
 Having the fresh snowfall won it for the biker.. if it was icy the board would have been quite a bit faster and carried way more speed on the flat. Looks to me like they tried to balance things out, that they anticipated the board to be a little faster on hardpack. I think people are overlooking the conditions for the biker... I'm pretty sure he had to work much harder then the boarder to keep his speed up... ever try pedaling with snowpants and a coat on? His kit probably wasn't very heavy but if you noticed he was putting in pedal strokes throughout most of the track. He deserves more credit for a well earned win. I do like the idea of having some sort of rhythm section at the end but you know the boarder would have been a long ways ahead if it were icy. Looked pretty fair and balanced to me considering there were no tricky lines or obstacles besides the jumps.
  • - 1
 Lot of effort in that comment +1
  • - 9
flag freeride-mtb (Dec 30, 2011 at 3:37) (Below Threshold)
 I bet if we took away the snow the mtber would win much more convincingly! Razz
  • + 7
 no shit..
  • + 31
 Bikes are great.
  • + 11
 so are snowboards!
  • + 36
 I'm a skier! But bikes come first! I guess snowboards are ok. Just not as great as bikes. 0.64 Seconds less great than bikes.
  • + 6
 Yeah I agree bikes are awesome. But for me, snowboards come first in winter and bikes come first in summer Smile .
  • + 5
 @mtbdwnhill finally some one who makes sense!
  • + 21
 its kinda stupid saying no pedaling. That's like saying the snowboarder cant crouch to be more aerodynamic. As far as I'm concerned, it was a great race!
  • - 15
flag ezekiel (Dec 29, 2011 at 12:24) (Below Threshold)
 Crouching is something they can both do, however pedalling is not.
  • + 4
 its not the pedaling that the issue its the flat part at the end, the biker still has a mode of acceleration/speed maintenance however once you take away the incline you, you take away the boarders speed that's why everyone been bitching about the pedaling.
  • + 8
 Take it this way, the race is a bike vs a snowboard. Bikes can pedal, snowboards can't. If the biker wasn't allowed to pedal, it'd defeat the purpose of the race.
  • + 2
 in a way the flat bit at the end was fair, it shows how each would do in different terrain of the snow, Hence the purpose of the race, if the track was just steep the whole way down there wouldn't be much point to it.
  • + 1
 If you can crouch on a bike, koodo's to you, as far as im concerned, I can duck. A snowboarder can crouch anytime he wants and he changes his aerodynamics all the time. Bikers are limited obviously to how aerodynamic they can be. Pedaling or not, we're not the ones who designed and coordinated the race. If I was the one that planned the race, the flat part was probably put there because, if I were them, I would have figured the snowboarder would have a sleight advantage because of less friction to the snow and being more aerodynamic so the flat part would be the bikers comeback, but clearly, it was back and forth and the biker prevailed.
  • + 18
 Im all for the bike, but that was so cheap! That flat out section at the bottom was set up perfect for a guy with gears
  • + 4
 true but it is on snow and ice so it kind of counters that out
  • + 12
 So if it were on dirt and rocks but nice and steep it would be fair?
  • + 1
 No not what I'm saying, I was saying that the end flat part really decided it because you just see the boarder loose all his speed. I thought the final jump was the finish, when the flat bit came it was all over.
  • + 1
 Even Andi Brewi (biker) admitted that it was the flat part that gave him the win.
  • + 1
 Tbh i dont think they expected him to be that fast so put in a handycap which he probably didnt need.
  • + 1
 no i think he needed it
  • + 3
 Seeing as the snowboarder has no means of propelling himself other than tucking (and a biker can do that) I honestly think, that the mountain biker held back a bit to make it a more even race. Now if this was a steeper run top to bottom - the boarder most likely would have had the biker eating his powder. Entertaining though it was - should have been one of those fancy sno-bike contraptions against the boarder.
  • + 1
 I don't see how anything was rigged... the track was designed to allow for a close finish between the board and the bike.. it woulda been boring if the board was 2 min ahead of the bike or vice versa. The designers would have added in what needed to be added in for a close race. You could have called it rigged if the whole track was flat and the boarder had to scooter along... but the end outcome could have gone either way with the layout they made. Thats not rigged.
  • + 1
 if you notice, on the last little hill, the mountain biker was ahead and it wasn't until half way through the flat the snowboarder started catching up again, so all though the last flat was made for the biker, it wouldn't have made a difference anyway. Smile
  • + 3
 .... Is that Karl Lagerfeld sitting on the couch in the studio? LOL (I know I'll get flamed for stating that, but I just don't care. Its an observation).
  • + 2
 Yup it's him. Thomas Gottschalk always do invite famous people on his couch!
  • + 1
 Cool, I only read about the program later, and found out that they often invite celebrities to take part in the "panel" or the host table.
  • + 1
 Really good race, but whats with all the "boarder would or should have won" comments. The rider only went wide open a few times the entire race. I guarentee you if it was a pro level DH racer in his place the gap would have been a bit wider.
  • + 2
 Nearly all sports are fixed in some way and your fooling yourself if you think they ain't. But that long straight was blatantly fixed for the biker to win
  • + 4
 A skier would have utterly killed them both.
  • - 10
flag benhope (Dec 29, 2011 at 18:50) (Below Threshold)
 skieing is gay
  • + 11
 People who can't spell are even more gay.
  • - 1
 Skiing isn't gay. It's just slightly less cool than boarding. It's still sweet
  • - 4
flag benhope (Dec 30, 2011 at 21:58) (Below Threshold)
 swearmouth shut up you prob suck anyway lolol
  • + 4
 I ski raced for 8 years and now coach, so I'm quite skilled in that regard. And I'm a half decent cyclist, not going to pretend that I'm amazing though. And its pretty much a fact that a skier would have beaten them, skiing is significantly faster than boarding and you can skate on the flats which helps make up for the rider's ability to pedal.
  • + 2
 This is such bullshit. runs were timed before hand anyway so they knew it would be a close race......to make good tv. OBVIOUSLY!
  • + 5
 So amazing! )
  • + 2
 That was pretty cool! Now do the same race for points and add flips for style!
  • + 2
 I'd like to see a mtb vs. skier race since the skier could skate the pedaling sections.
  • + 2
 come on people....i love my bikes and boards but...THAT WAS AWESOME...they both won and so did we
  • + 2
 There's a reason why MTB was dropped from the winter X games...Wink
And watching this just brought it all back
  • + 3
 that was a pointless race
  • + 2
 It was known that on this last line is the flat had no chance of snowboarding
  • + 2
 I'll probably get torn apart for saying this but that last course catered more towards biking.
  • - 1
 True, and the steeper inclines to a flat board Big Grin
  • + 4
 Would agree if it was on dirt!
If the rider was Danny Hart, would it be 0.64s or 12.64s? Smile
  • + 2
 The only way of making this track fair would be to have a load of pump bumps in the end section for both....
  • + 2
 Ok now lets drop the snowboarder in a downhill track!
  • + 1
 They should rerun it one half been dirt and the other snow think it would of been more fair.
  • + 1
 Just think, the snowboarders advantage was snow, the bikers advantage was peddaling! I think it's fair
  • + 0
 Not to mention the MTB'ers disavantage of pedaling with all that heavy cloathing on...!
  • + 1
 Man, That was so close! I thought there would be a much bigger lead by who ever won, but it was neck and neck! lol
  • + 2
 im sure the commentator said the snowboarders infertile at one point ?
  • + 2
 A race between a bike and a snowboard, why?
Because we can!
Awesome!!
  • + 1
 "we can afford it" Smile
  • + 2
 Goats don't wear sandles?
  • + 1
 cheater!!!!, without pedaling.....
  • + 1
 That would defeat the object really. If you race one thing against another, you use all aspects of each to it's advantage.
  • + 2
 's not Big Grin

nice!
  • + 1
 could hav won by a long shot if he cranked harder and scrubbed. .
  • + 1
 should do it again but with a snow bike.
  • + 1
 I'd like to see gee atherton vs shaun palmer in a follow up race.
  • + 1
 hast echt gut gemacht andi Wink congrats nochmal!!
  • + 1
 so ur not allowed to hit the jumps correct on the snowboard?
  • + 1
 haha wie geil, jetzt kann man ZDF sogar bei pinkbike sehen Big Grin
  • + 1
 why the fu kdid i just waste like 4 mins wtf
  • + 1
 i watched it live on tv Big Grin
  • + 1
 hahahahahahaha
  • + 5
 So when does it swap, id like to see this snowboarder hit some real dirt jumps on a 4x track
  • + 1
 Biking ruleszzzz !!!!!!
  • + 1
 Haha very cool
  • + 0
 A skier would have beaten both of them.
  • - 1
 the only reson the biker on i cuz there was a big flat part at the end
  • - 3
 now lets see the snowboard,in summer,going down the dh track...
  • - 2
 Based on law of gravity Bike is heavier than the snow board therefore....
  • + 9
 all objects accelerate at 9.8m/s^2 minus friction, regardless of their mass.
  • + 5
 c'mon man, didn't they have school in 1976.
  • + 2
 BUT. the force of friction is stronger on heavier objects, any friction causes deceleration. + the bikes tyres cause more friction againts the snow, especially powder.
  • + 1
 No, the bike has less friction as the coefficient of rolling resistance is almost always less than the coefficient of friction. Also, it doesn't cause deceleration, it just makes the objects accelerate at a lower rate. And while the bike would generate more force and thus more friction against the snow, it only adds roughly 20% of the riders weight which most likely does not outweigh the difference due to rolling instead of sliding.
  • + 2
 that was a really intelligent reply from a guy named swearmouth. I would add that the biker's kinetic energy is dissipated by the snow being crushed under the wheel. Think of riding on sand. Also a boarder has no means of locomotion. A rider does. It was pretty darn close all the same and I was entertained so, job well done German TV!
  • + 1
 Swearmouth is my first initial and last name haha, but thanks.
  • + 2
 well it makes a pretty sweet username. not everyone is so lucky, but you probably already know that.
  • + 1
 I was not listening during the discussion about the law of gravity lol, because so many nerds are so good with this as if they really know.:-)
  • + 1
 haha, totally. I'm just jealous I wasn't there to see it. I watched a snow bike event in Calgary a couple of years back and it was pretty cool. It was also -30deg C. That part wasn't so great.
  • - 1
 @swearmouth. You sir, are an idiot, of the highest order.
  • + 1
 No, you are. If the bike was sliding, then yes, it would experience more friction. However, because it is rolling, it experiences less. Think of it this way; if sliding caused you to experience less friction, when you lock up your brakes you would accelerate at a higher rate than when you let the bike roll freely. The 20% increase in mass the bike provides does not outweigh the increased friction acting upon the boarder because he is sliding instead of rolling.

If you don't understand the physics, don't pretend to, it just makes you look bad.
  • + 0
 read my original comment. then realise how off topic you now are, all i was saying was that the bike is heavier, and because the larger mass of the bike is concentrated on smaller area, This means the energy dissipates from under the wheels, slowing the bike, so the bike is slower on snow than it is on a road. Also, the tyres are designed to create more friction.

All i really was saying is that the designs need to be taken into account, the bike is much heavier, weight generally is proportional to friction. I didn't ever mention rolling. i never mentioned the snowboard.

Every single thing I wrote in my first comment was correct, since i never mentioned rolling, i did partly write it wrong, I shouldve said that Any resistive forces (friction) cause a slower rate of acceleration and when large enough, they cause deceleration , that wouldve been more accurate.

im not saying your wrong, but your going off topic from my post. Also, From my qualifications, I understand the Physics more than you, but lets not get into that.(had to edit my first bit, didnt at all make sense, its too early on new years for this debate)
  • + 2
 AH, i also see you corrected me on the statement i edited anyway.
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