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DIY: Convert your bike trailer into a ski trailer

We’re pretty cheap, or rather, ‘thrifty’. So when winter came around a few years ago and we wanted to pull our chariot around in the snow, we opted not to buy the official conversion kit, but rather build our own.

First, we rented the official version, skied around for a day, then came up with our own plan. To be honest, we actually like our version better than the real deal. Why? Allow me illustrate.

1. If you leave the wheels on you have a bigger range of motion and can go over stuff like this (photo below). 2. If you make your own you can use fatter skis, that means better performance in powder (photo below).

 

 

 

 

 

Or maybe we’re just trying to make ourselves feel better about being ‘thrifty’?

At any rate, here is a step by step guide on how we converted our chariot into a skiing machine. Note: Hold your mouse over the photos for explanations.

Step 1: Get some skis and remove the bindings. We got ours for about $4 from our local thrift store. Don’t worry about being too picky about the quality of the skis because you will be screwing holes in them anyway.

Step 2: (optional). Cut the skis. We cut ours to about 3.5 feet but we wish we would have cut them a bit longer so we had more surface area in the deep snow and longer skis provide a platform for older kids to stand on and ride behind the chariot. If we do this again we might just leave the skis full length.

Step 3: Trace the wheel of your bike trailer onto a 2×4 or similar piece of wood, this will become a platform for your wheel.

Step 4: Use a jigsaw or band saw to cut along the line you traced.

Step 5: You will need some way to secure your wheel to the platform you just cut out. We used the ratchet straps from old snowboard bindings that we got at a thrift store. You could also use a hose clamp screwed to the platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6: Attach the platform to the skis. You’ll have to decide where on the skis to attach the platform, as you can see from the picture above we attached it near the rear of the skis. We first tried screwing on the platform from above but we worried that the screw would pull out so we also attached it from below. I would suggest countersinking the screw to reduce drag on the skis.

Step 7: Attach your wheels to your skis. We like the snow board binding attachment because it is easy to get on and off. You may need to let some air out of the tire to get a good tight fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your bike trailer is now ready to ski, the problem now is how to pull it. The following steps are somewhat specific to the chariot trailers but I’m sure they could be adapted to any rig you may have.

Step 8: We used 3/4 inch electrical conduit tubing to attach the chariot to the person pulling it (if I do this agian I may try plastic tubing like pvc pipe). We cut four 2.5 foot sections (two pieces for each side) to make them easier to fit in the car. These 2.5 foot sections can be attached together with some connecters (see the picture to the right below) to create a 5 foot bar (one on each side) to pull the trailer. A hole should be drilled into one end of the tubing so it can be attached to the chariot with a pin. We put a slight bend in this end so the tubing would angle up to the hip of the person pulling it but the cockpit would be parallel with the ground, we later realized this bend may not be necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 9: We flattened the other end of the tubing (the one not attached to the chariot) and drilled a hole in it so a carabiner or similar device could attach the tubing to the person pulling the chariot.

Step 10: Attach the tubing to the puller. We prefer to attach the chariot to our MountainSmith lumbar pack (fanny pack) but you can attach it to anything with a waist strap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a couple other variations of this on the web. This one uses PVC pipe. This one tells how to convert a burley bike trailer to a ski trailer, and this one is similar to ours.

Good luck!

9 Comments so far

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  1. Brilliant, as always!

  2. Ingenious! So how much did you spend on supplies vs. the cost of the original?

  3. Angela Charles

    This is a fantastic design. We have experimented with a few ideas but none of them made the cut. We’ve been using an ice-fishing sled with a similar pulling set-up to share adventures with our sons. Thanks for posting this.

  4. Love it! I just wish we had the snow to use something like that. Looks awesome fun. More so if you’re in the chariot perhaps!

  5. […] Cougar 2, and own the bike trailer kit, the jogging kit, the infant sling, baby supporter and we made our own skis. We currently have 3 kids ages 6, 3, and 7 months. Here’s why we love our […]

  6. Finished building our ski trailer; thanks so much for getting us started! Here are the pics!

    http://mrhonz.blogspot.com/2013/01/holiday-breakthroughs-and-goodbyes.html

  7. john

    Thanks for the ideas. I already had something similar in mind but your pictures gave me some good ideas. I’m going to make mine with 3 wide skis so I can push it while i snowshoe.

    • Lindsay

      How did this turn out? I would like to do the same.

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    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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