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Pushing yourself to improve is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of mountain biking - there’s no better feeling than cleaning a new technical feature or taking your speed to the next level. With this in mind, we reached out to longtime professional mountain biker and coach Simon Lawton with Fluidride to get some mountain biking tips to help you improve your skills and have more fun out there on the trails. 

Mountain Biking & Skiing Technique Crossovers

One of our favorite things about skiing and mountain biking is how well the sports complement each other. Not only are they great summer and winter counterparts, but the very movements and techniques cross over really nicely, too. As mountain biking has grown in popularity in recent years, many skiers have picked up a bike to have their “breakout” riding moment come when the technique is described in skiing terms. Not buying it? Follow along and we’ll show you the similarities between mountain biking and skiing.


Moving from turn to turn on a bike feels a bit like ripping turns on groomers or skiing powder, depending on conditions. Once you get sorted on the bike, you can almost air between turns, just like on skis. When cornering on a mountain bike, the rider should put the majority, but not all of their weight on the outside foot. On the bike, we do this with footwork.

A couple of decades ago, ski instructors taught skiers to put all their weight on the outside or downhill ski. Now skiers are taught to put 60% or so of their weight on the outside ski. Mountain bikers do the same now. These changes happened at almost exactly the same time in each sport. The result is better traction, speed, and control throughout the turn.

Dropping In & Moving Into Steeper Terrain

Approaching steeper terrain is another area where skiing and mountain biking cross over. Just like moving into the fronts of the boots, we want to move into terrain on the bike, and not away from it. Moving into steep descents at the knees feels a lot like dropping in on skis. You can clearly see this skier has knees over toes, which is exactly what we want when descending on a bike. The sports have amazing similarities!


Moving into a jump, riders load their legs by standing in a strong athletic posture with knees over toes. The more pop we want, the more we straighten our legs on takeoff. This creates more pressure into the jump, giving us more air. This posture looks very similar to the skier below!

As you’ll see, the sequence of this skier hitting a jump is very similar. As they’re approaching the jump, they are loading up their legs, and popping off the lip. Notice how the posture is very similar between the two. Approaching the jump with a “big” upright chest means that they have the range of motion available to properly load their legs and pop off the lip.

Simon Lawton is the founder and owner of Seattle based Fluidride, and the creator of The Fluidride Method. Simon has been teaching riders for over 20 years. He raced pro Downhill and Enduro for 15 years. During his racing career, Simon amassed over 50 pro podium finishes at regional events, and two Medals (Silver and Bronze) at the UCI Masters World Downhill Championships. Simon created The Fluidride Method by watching the world’s best riders, and mimicking their movements on the bike to sharpen his own skills. He then created terms and vocabulary based on these movements to help transform the riding of his students. Simon has taught in a dozen countries on three continents, teaching over 1,000 riders per year in person. His teachings reach many more via his free online content and 3 feature-length films which are currently on iTunes. Simon’s latest venture, soon to be launched, is SNAPMTB, an online learning platform created to reach and benefit riders around the world.

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