Everyone dreams of a white Christmas, but after Santa has made the scene and the ball has dropped at midnight, most of us are hoping for an early spring. Skiing or snowboarding is a blast, but the trek out to the resort is far from convenient, and the lines at the lifts can be as bad as Disneyland. Day to day, snow loses its luster and becomes an impediment, as we shovel it and slog through it. But what if we could just effortlessly glide over it? How might that change your attitude towards the white stuff?
Now imagine dirt biking on snow. You’re churning up the trail in the great outdoors, but the ride is cleaner, cooler, and if it’s battery-powered, far quieter. That’s what you can expect from the Moonbike, an electric snow bike that’s a hit in Europe and is now available in the United States. From well-worn trails to the hidden backcountry to your newly whitened downtown, the Moonbike turns any winter wonderland into your playground.
The concept is simple enough. A ski takes the place of the front tire, while a snow gripping tread provides propulsion. At roughly 190 pounds, the vehicle is roughly three times lighter than a snowmobile and much easier to transport and store. Its ultralightweight and low center of gravity makes it simple to control, so learning to ride is quick and easy.
About now, you might be asking, “What took so long?” The quest for a fun and functional snow bike goes back to the 1970s when Chrysler Corp. tried its hand with the Sno-Runner. Unfortunately, that machine proved impractical and unreliable. The Moonbike promises to be low-maintenance and trustworthy, which matters much when you’re venturing into the frozen backcountry. The Moonbike is designed to perform in up to 12 inches of new snow. And speaking of frozen, the Moonbike’s battery system works in temperatures down to minus 13.
The Moonbike’s single battery enables performance for one and a half hours. At the maximum speed of 27 miles per hour, you could cover roughly 40 miles. How many hours of snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing would that loop require? And if you wanted a longer excursion, you could go for the double-battery version, or simply carry an extra with you. That’s about 25 extra pounds, so that added weight could cut into your range. Still, the Moonbike could get you farther out on a snowy trail in two hours than you could hope to do in two days of snow camping.
But perhaps the most attractive aspect of the Moonbike is that it’s eco-friendly. The company claims the Moonbike leaves zero operational footprint. Because it’s lightweight, it doesn’t damage habitat lying fallow below the snow the way a snowmobile can. And because it’s electric, there’s no exhaust fouling the air. Finally, its quiet performance allows you to appreciate the winter backcountry in its natural state.
If all this sounds good to you, Moonbike is accepting orders now. This time next year, you could be biking in a winter wonderland.