Women & Timbersledding: Interview with Sasha Eagen
As a relatively new sport, Timbersledding—sometimes called snow biking—is seeing rapidly growing interest from men and women, alike. In Colorado, the first known cross-country snow biking races were held in the winter of 2017, and Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals (RMAR) rider Sasha Eagen topped the women’s field in the Sledstock 2017 at Rabbit Ears Pass event. We recently caught up with Sasha to get her insight into the sport and to hear her tips and advice for other women who would like to give this exciting winter sport a try.
But first of all, what is a Timbersled?
Timbersled is the brand name for a snow bike conversion system that allows dirt bikes to be converted into snow bikes for winter riding on snow-covered terrain. The Timbersled system essentially results in a snow bike that has the terrain capabilities of a snowmobile but with the agility of a dirt bike. The machines are sometimes called snow motorcycles, snowtercycles, or snow dirt bikes.
Timbersledding in Colorado is gaining popularity, and as Sasha Eagen demonstrates, women have no reason to shy away from getting in on the action. An adventurous spirit and a willingness to try something new are all that’s really required for someone who wants to try out Timbersledding, but as with any other sport, strength and skill are important for progression in the sport.
Sport Background and Timbersledding:
How did you get into Timbersledding? What is your sport background?
Sasha E: I raced moto in my 20s, and I learned a ton about throttle control and how to throw the bike around underneath me. Going fast on two wheels is one of my favorite things to do. So one snowy morning, I received a phone call from my older brother, who requested I “come out and check out these sick Timbersleds.” So I did, and it was the best day in the backcountry I have had to date!
What it has been like to pioneer Timbersled racing in Colorado? What’s exciting? What gets you scared?
SE: I don’t think of myself as pioneering Timbersleds—I think of it as going out to play with my friends on machines, and finally someone made a toy that is fun for me to keep up with the boys. I was super excited to start racing again because I see Timbersledding as a blend of snow and power, which is the recipe for a perfect riding machine for me. I was super nervous, too! When racing, I wanted to finish and not be last, but when I got in the gate, my moto-racing skills kicked in, and my body took over. It was epic. When the gate dropped, so did my throttle, and it was just another day of riding. I was trying to keep up with the pack, and I did. The part I was worried about was making tight turns and not falling over. I totally fell and spent the rest of the race trying to gain that fall over on the clock.
I am super stoked to see what this winter holds for snow bike racing in Colorado, and I’d like to see if we could get more women out riding the Timbersleds. Nothing stokes me out more than seeing more women get into this sport. In turn, I hope this would lead to more women racing Timbersleds.
Timbersledding: Tips and Advice
How do you train for Timbersled racing? What skills help you out the most?
Cross-training for sports has been something I love to do. As an athletic trainer, I find that a regular workout routine helps keep me fit for any sport. And Timbersled training is no different. I focus on balance, core strength, and cardio six days a week. Also having a regular yoga practice helps me focus on my breathing work because sometimes breathing is what it takes to make the ride more enjoyable.
What are some of your favorite things about Timbersledding that are different from either snowmobiling or dirt biking?
Sasha E: Going fast and jumping the Timbersled is my favorite. Timbersleds are also really FUN to ride. I literally can point to a place I’d like to go, and I grip the throttle and rip it open. A Timbersled is easier for me to move around and turn, whereas a snowmobile takes all my weight to turn, and even then I sometimes won’t get the desired turn I want on a snowmobile. Timbersledding is similar to a dirt bike, but you can’t put your feet down on a Timbersled when you want to stop, which takes some getting used to.
What advice do you have for women getting into the sport?
SE: Just try it. Do it…life is a journey, and Timbersledding is something EVERYONE should try.
What are some things you wished people had told you or taught you about Timbersledding before you first tried it?
SE: I went out with an open mind and the idea that I would have fun. Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals gave me a good idea about what to expect, and those were great building blocks.
My biggest pointer is to make sure your elbows are out and that your head is up. A Timbersled handles similar to a dirt bike, so trust that your machine will do its job, and you can do yours. Speed will help you get where you want to go, but take it slow in the morning to warm up and get to know your machine.
What’s your strategy for getting back up when you fall over in the backcountry with a Timbersled?
SE: Anything! I try to get my hip under the bike to help with leverage. Sometimes just having a friend help you get it back up is great. I use all my power to get back up. Getting all my weight under the machine as quick as possible helps me use less energy, but I try not to fall over so that I don’t have to worry about picking it back up. That is my best strategy.
Anything else you want to add about gear, clothing, training, racing, or riding Timbersleds?
SE: Go try it. Timbersledding is the most fun thing to do in the backcountry. I personally wear protective gear like knee braces, a neck collar, and obviously a helmet. I just try to set myself up for a great day, and that starts with dry clothes, warm boots, and a full tank of gas! And maybe take a little water and a snack in case you find yourself bonking while riding.
RMAR is the leader in Colorado’s growing Timbersled rental market, and we’re also pioneering snow bike riding and racing in Colorado. Timbersled rentals are available for Vail-area riding this winter from the RMAR rental outlet near Vail, Colorado. Call to reserve: (970) 471-8491.