Can we keep the "winter" in the Winter Mountain Games? I'm referring to the inclusion of cross country on-snow mountain bike racing in this year's games.
When one person wins a division when it's only his second time on a fat bike, and another medalist wins her division on a rental bike, I think it's safe to say that this is not an established winter competition. (See Vail Daily page A2 on Feb. 9)
I'm all for local companies like Twenty 2 Cycles in Edwards (no relation to telemark-equipment maker Twenty-Two Designs in Idaho, I guess) making new toys to sell and play on.
But this race was held at the Vail Nordic Center, where they have a tough enough time keeping snowshoers off the groomed nordic trails.
Are they now going to allow bikes to ruin the set tracks too? If not, where does one do serious training for this "sport"?
Do we want to encourage people to bike over backcountry skin tracks and blue diamond cross-country trails? I hope not.
Mountain biking on snow is a novelty, not a sport. You just can't do it in deep untracked snow.
Instead, how about the Mountain Games adding some real winter competitions like a ski-joring race with dogs or horse-drawn ski jumping, as you see in the winter carnivals in Steamboat, Leadville and now Minturn?
What's next, an on-grass 10K snowshoe race at the summer Mountain Games?
Let's keep the winter sports in winter and the summer sports in summer. ESPN had enough sense to remove motorbike jumping from the winter X-Games.
We should have the same sense about having mountain biking included in the winter Mountain Games.