Be a part of fat bike history in Winter Park | SkyHiNews.com

Be a part of fat bike history in Winter Park

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Sarah Wieck / Special to the Sky-Hi News

History is about to made this Sunday, Jan. 25, and you can be a part of it.

Winter Park's first organized group Fat Bike ride is starting at 1:30 p.m. (have to specify as Fat Bike riders sometimes ride late into the night) at Hideaway Park (next to the Winter Park Chamber). Not only will you be part of a historic ride, you will get to ride singletrack Fat Bike trails made by a one of a kind 24-inch-wide groomer.

While other resorts are embracing the competitive side of Fat Biking on limited options at cross country ski areas, we are fortunate to have a large backcountry trail system and a prototype singletrack grooming dream machine. This machine was developed through the concept and efforts of Jim Simons. Jim has to be the most enthusiast Fat Bike rider on the planet, and if you have ever met Jim you may think my description of him is an understatement.

One of his goals is to expand the current Fat Bike experience from that of wide boulevards groomed for snowmobile tours to that which has the addition of true singletrack that mimics the summer singletrack experience we've all come to enjoy. The grooming machine he is developing can expand the options and experience of almost all Fat Bike riders. Laying down a track that remains narrow yet offers the desired compaction needed to keep the tires rolling is a game changer. Most true singletrack winter trails are very difficult to ride for even the most skilled riders due to the very limited compaction. Expanding the Fat Bike trail options will increase the number of users, both locals and tourists, thereby creating an additional influx to our local economy.

Sunday's ride will use part of the Stagecoach Classic cross country ski course that winds through the Idlewild trail system. Classic trails such as Crosstrails, South Fork, Serendipity, Ditch and Meadow will be part of the ride. Riding these trails in the winter is different than summer. Slippery roots and rocks are exchanged for the narrow ribbon of packed snow. The bike is very quite as winter trails are generally very smooth with little feedback of the trail to the bike, yet the thrill and excitement of riding remains. Deer and elk have moved on to winter range, while the moose let you know that they are the supreme creature as deep snow seems to have little impact on their ability to navigate winter's blanket.

If you can't make the ride on Sunday find some time to ride these trails soon. After that you may just need to consider that remodel on the garage in order to have a space for your new Fat Bike toy.

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Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com

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