102 spiked tires, 51 elite mountain bikers, one snow covered Alpine ski slope – what could possibly go wrong?

2024 UCI Snow Bike World Championship
(Image credit: UCI)

The first edition of the UCI Snow Bike World Championships will kick off this weekend (10 and 11 February 2024) in Châtel, Haute-Savoie (France). The inaugural event has attracted some big names to the start line and will see mountain bikers line up on the ski pistes to compete in two race formats.

Although this will be the first World Championship snow biking event, snow biking itself isn't new to the UCI, who have previously talked about establishing a winter snow bike series. The Fédération Française de Cyclisme (FFC) has been running a French Snow Bike Championships for a couple of years now too. 

If you think this is just going to be a bunch of fat bikes wobbling down a ski run though, think again.

CHAMPIONNAT DE FRANCE FFC SNOW BIKE

The French Snow Bike Championships took place last weekend at Les Gets (Image credit: FFC)

Race Format

There will be two Snow Bike World Championship races on the snow, both of which have been "directly inspired by alpine skiing", following a super-G and dual slalom format.

The Snow Bike World Championship will kick off on Saturday with the super-G and will be held on the L’aity piste followed by the Stade Linga. The course covers a length of 1,957m and a vertical drop of 600m, consisting of fast flat corners marked out with ski poles. The poles form what's called 'gates' and the riders must pass through these in order to complete the course.

On Sunday riders will line up to race the dual slalom on the Linga piste, which is 510 metres long with a 155 metre vertical drop (around 30 seconds of descent). Riders will compete side by side in elimination heats on two parallel slalom courses. Riders will race both courses and the rider with the fastest combined time will progress to the next heat.

Titles of UCI World Champion will be awarded in both formats, in the Women and Men categories.

To handle the high speeds the UCI has recommended that riders use downhill bikes, although riders can ride any mountain bike they want as long as they use the same bike for both competition formats. The only specific modification will be the use of 6mm studded tires for extra traction.

Rider list

Amongst the 43 men and seven female start list, there are a few notable names that will be taking to the slopes. The biggest by far is two-time downhill World Champion Danny Hart, who is likely to be one of the favorites in the men's field. Canyon Collective Pirelli rider Henry Kerr is another rider to watch, he was having a great 2023 before being sidelined by a huge crash in Lenzerheide and will no doubt be excited to get an early start to the race season. The French will have strong representation with Pierre Thevenard, Dylan Levesque, and Vincent Tupin who came first, second, and third in the French Snow Bike Championship last weekend. Thevenard also holds the snow bike world speed record at 165,90km/h, so we know he isn't scared of going fast on the snow.

Although smaller, the women's field is likely to be just as competitive with French Snow Bike Champion Morgane Charre of Pivot Factory Racing, downhill legend Sabrina Jonnier, and Continental Nukeproof Factory Racing's Veronika Widmann, all of which are looking to add a snow bike world champion win to their already impressive palmares. It's not just downhillers either, Enduro racers Lisa Baumann and Sidonie Jolidon, and snowboarder Lucie Paltz will also be in the mix.

Elite Men

  • Léo Abella - France
  • Miguel Abrantes - Portugal
  • Fridolin Amiguet - Switzerland
  • Scott Beaumont - Great Britain
  • Francescu Camoin - France
  • Julian Claudi - Germany
  • Thomas Di Litta - France
  • Stefan Dolder - Switzerland
  • Erik Emmrich - Germany
  • Benoit Fellay - Switzerland
  • Claude Gex - Switzerland
  • Danny Hart - Great Britain
  • Geoffrey Heuzard - France
  • Erik Irmisch - Germany
  • Baptiste Jalladeau - France
  • Henry Kerr - Ireland
  • Florian Kulike - Germany
  • Jules Laffay - Switzerland
  • Clement Laugier - France
  • Hannes Lehmann - Germany
  • Dylan Levesque - France
  • Théo Mathieu - France
  • Simon Maurer - Germany
  • Kévyn Mayeur - France
  • Kevin Meyer - France
  • Filip Miksa - Poland
  • Harry Molloy - Great Britain
  • Benjamin Moore - Great Britain
  • Jonathan Moret - Switzerland
  • Marius Perraudin - Switzerland
  • Stefan Peter - Switzerland
  • Jack Piercy - Great Britain
  • Kevin Rivera - France
  • Tobias Schafferhans - Germany
  • Tilmann Schwab - Germany
  • Emilien Serpaggi - France
  • Pierre Thevenard - France
  • Jules Troillet - Switzerland
  • Vincent Tupin - France
  • Josh Turner - Great Britain
  • Antoine Vidal - France
  • Myles Weber - Switzerland
  • Mirco Widmer - Switzerland

Elite Women

  • Lisa Baumann - Switzerland 
  • Morgane Charre - France 
  • Sidonie Jolidon - Switzerland 
  • Sabrina Jonnier - France 
  • Jolanda Kiener - Switzerland 
  • Lucie Paltz - France 
  • Veronika Widmann - Italy

Coverage

Long and short of it, there won't be any. It appears Warner Brothers/Discovery opted not to cover the event so there will be no way of getting an early-season downhill race fix. We reckon Red Bull would have covered it, just saying.

Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.


Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg