Former Mr Switzerland sets snow trend

Viktor Borsodi shows he has what it takes.

As versatile as a Swiss Army Knife, the latest Swiss invention has become the trendiest toy on this year's ski slopes.

This content was published on March 3, 2006 minutes

The Bikeboard can be adapted to go off-road, fly down sand dunes or skip across the water. swissinfo put it to the test in the central ski resort of Sörenberg and met its inventor.

Viktor Borsodi has more than just the good looks that won him the title of Mr Switzerland seven years ago.

He was smart enough to realise that a French invention, the "Snowscoot" (similar to a snowboard, with an additional front board attached to handlebars), could be adapted for the four seasons.

"When I first saw the Snowscoot, I thought it was quite unique. It really stood out on the slopes and made people turn their heads," remembers Borsodi.

"I felt everyone watching me the first time I rode it, and I thought to myself, 'it could be quite successful if I learn to ride it well, and then teach others to ride it'."

Whizzing through snow

With the promise that I would be confidently whizzing through the snow in no time, Borsodi presented me with a Bikeboard, a few minutes of instruction and smiling assurances.

I like to ski in winter and cycle in summer but this, I quickly found, was neither.

Unlike in skiing, I was told to keep my feet and legs tightly together at all times, and unlike in cycling, there are no brakes.

This was a trifle more troublesome when I began to speed uncontrollably down the hill. A swift turn of the handlebars brought the board to a sudden stop and threw me to the snow, humbled but unhurt.

"Well done," Borsodi said without a hint of sarcasm, but that ever present smile, encouraging me to get back on my feet and the board.


And he was right. After the second run, I was beginning to master the technique and experience the thrill of going downhill without having my feet cramped in ski boots.

It is just the thing, I thought, for people like me tired of having to balance poles and skis while walking great lengths to and from the lift in bone numbing, hard plastic footwear.

This new mobility tool folds up and fits like a glove inside an oversized rucksack more quickly than it takes to fasten those awkward boot clips.

A quick release system similar to the one used on bicycles allows easy attachment or removal of the snow boards, or off-road tyres (including brakes!) or wakeboard (for water).

The Bikeboard is also ideal for novices frightened of trying winter sports because of the steep learning curve associated with skiing or snowboarding.


It is too early to say whether the Bikeboard will disappear once the novelty wears off but it has at least provided the small resort of Sörenberg - where the equipment can be hired and where Borsodi gives lessons twice a week - with free publicity.

Tourist director Bruno Fläcklin tells me several newspaper articles on the Bikeboard and Sörenberg have already been published this season.

"You can only succeed today if you organise spectacular events and promotions, or pay for large advertisements, none of which we can afford," he says.

Fläcklin says small family resorts have little chance of survival if they fail to offer guests a variety of activities. Sörenberg has skiing, and winter hiking and snowshoe trails, as well as an ice rink, and now the Bikeboard.

"The industry is fast moving. We are under pressure to introduce new trends, or variations on existing themes, which is not unlike the fashion or music industries," he explains. "It is important to introduce new developments and if they work, to continue with them until they lose their appeal."

To that end, the off-road version of the new device can be hired in Sörenberg this summer.

Or winter sports enthusiasts who got their first Bikeboard kicks in Sörenberg could fly south to the Arabian peninsula.

Borsodi has sealed a deal with tour operators in Dubai who will use it for adventure trips to the sand dunes.

"It's a lot slower in sand of course but you can go down much steeper slopes, which is a bigger kick than it is in snow!" the former Mr Switzerland says with his convincing grin.

swissinfo, Dale Bechtel in Sörenberg

In brief

The last important innovation in winter sports was the introduction of the carving ski which became popular in the early 1990s, and is today the standard ski.

It helped remove some of the momentum from snowboarding, which was the sport of choice for young people.

In the Swiss Alps in recent years, sledging has regained in popularity as has snowshoeing, thanks to modern, lightweight gear.

The hybrid bicycle-snowboard was first developed in France in the early 1990s. The Swiss Bikeboard can be adapted for use on all terrains, including snow, dirt, sand and water.

End of insertion

Articles in this story

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?