Brock Hoyer takes snow biking to the next level
There’s a reason why most professional athletes have it explicitly written into their contracts that they cannot ride motorbikes—riding them at high speeds can be hazardous to your health. For Brock Hoyer, it’s his job as an athlete to go as fast as he can on his bike, only to make it more interesting, he gets to do it on snow.
Hoyer’s sport, snow biking, made its X-Games debut in 2017. Best described as Motocross on snow, participants race modified dirt bikes (the front wheel is replaced by a ski), specifically designed for the snow on a closed track made from packed snow and ice that features various jumps and turns.
“I started about five years ago, when I was 24,” Hoyer says.” Being a Motocross guy, I was always searching for cross training activities, and we get 5 to 6 months of winter up here in British Columbia, where I live. One of my best friends bought a snow bike. I said, ‘Hey, what was that thing you were riding?’ He said, ‘Ride it! Go have fun!’ I ended up taking it out; I came back. and was 100% sold. It’s the perfect mix. I’ve been a sledder for a long time, all the way back to high school. It’s just perfect being 7,000 feet up in God’s country, looking down at a dirt bike fender, it’s the weirdest feeling but it’s also the most awesome feeling.”
As an athlete in a sport where one lives and dies by their bike, you can imagine how much an athlete has to trust their ride. “I’ve been a Timbersled athlete from day 1. I wouldn’t say they started the snow bike revolution, but they’ve definitely built it to what it is now. There were other bikes out there, but Timbersled is the only one you could really take into the back country. It was one of the first companies that actually built a brand that you could take off the track.”
After getting acquainted with a piece of equipment he could trust, Hoyer’s trek to the X-Games was just beginning. In 2017, he won X-Games gold. In 2018, he followed it up with a silver medal. Aside from winning competitions, Because of his success in snow biking, he feels a responsibility to grow the sport away from competitions. This includes participating in trade shows to recruit sponsors spread the snow biking gospel. “There are a lot of bike shows,” he says. “You meet different people and it just snow balls. You’re dealing with the media, and it gets bigger as you move up. I got comfortable with it, found a good flow and kept progressing. “
On the training side of snow biking, Hoyer faced his shared of hurdles. When you have to practice outside, nature does not always cooperate. “We didn’t have the best summer this past year,” Hoyer says. “We had a lot of fires. They pretty much evacuated my hometown (William’s Lake), for about a month, so I was busy firefighting the whole time. After the fires, my wife and kids came home, and as soon as I started getting in some cross training and mountain biking, I got injured and was out about 3 months. That really was a set back, coming into the X-Games season, knowing that I had to really work my butt off after being on the injured list and coming back. I had a full nutritionist, trainer, everything. I put a lot of money into my own program, and I feel like it really paid off with the results I got this winter.”
Away from the X-Games, Hoyer sees a bright future for this non-traditional sport. “I really see the future of this sport as getting into films. Mission Impossible or James Bond, guys on snow bikes shooting guns. I always thought that would be an add-on for what the sport has to offer. You just got to pinch yourself sometimes, all the big lights, the crowds, the camera people. It’s all been a cool experience.”