Conditions are perfect in the Fraser Valley for fat tire riding |

Conditions are perfect in the Fraser Valley for fat tire riding

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking With Keith
Keith Sanders
Staff Photo |

Early season snowfall has been great but that doesn’t mean that you can’t hop on your bike and keep the cycling legs in shape. Sure we’ve had 73 inches of snow and the Jane is open, but don’t forget the sunny warm days between storms make for some great riding.

I’m seeing more and more fat tire bikes on the trails. I suspect as time goes on these will be a mainstream form of trail use in the winter. I know I really enjoy mine. Of course it doesn’t mean that I am giving up my skis and snowshoes. The majority of us live here for outdoor recreation and have the full complement of toys to meet that need. I’ve always told people that the cost of the toys isn’t the main factor, it is the remodel of the garage to make them fit that will set you back a bit.

The warm weather between storms has created some great conditions for fat tire biking. Top that off with some warmer days, and trail conditions couldn’t be more ideal. Trails are packed in, traction is great and staying warm is rarely an issue. One key thing that is often overlooked on fat tire biking is that the trails are actually smoother in the winter than summer. As snowpack builds, the rocks and roots become covered leaving a smoother surface. Often your main concern is not the obstacle but taking your eyes off of the amazing views created by the removal of dead and fallen trees.

One great thing about fat tire riding is that most of us can hop on the bike and ride from our homes just as we do in the summer. The new trail construction by the Town of Winter Park makes this very easy from downtown and around Winter Park. For those of you who are new to Winter Park you can find some great maps at (click on the trail map at the top of the main page, then click the TOP map as it is interactive with great info- the lower map on that page is inaccurate). Two great access points are Leland Creek, which is just over the railroad tracks on the Kings Crossing road. Another is Sunset Pink, which is on Vasquez Road on the right just after you leave the paved portion (hint Vasquez Road goes straight, paved road curves to the right. If you pass the Woodspur Lodge you just missed it). These are great places to explore. Both trail accesses converge on Sunset Pink and Sun Dog. Favorite trails in the area are WTB, D4, D3, Blue Sky and D2. Stop by some of the local shops that do bikes in the summer for maps. The Winter Park Chamber has great maps as well.

“I’ve always told people that the cost of the toys isn’t the main factor, it is the remodel of the garage to make them fit that will set you back a bit.”

One thing I notice in winter is that our trail system is a bit more defined. Most of the trails tend to stay on the designated and marked system as those are the easiest to identify. As our trail system changes, you will see it become a system of designated trails. Examples of this from the past few years are improvements on WTB, which actually eliminated duplication of trails and at the same time increased user experience and wildlife habitat. Other examples in the Idlewild area are Twisted Ankle, Arrow and Whoops, to name a few. As the trail system master plan and direction take place, there will be a balance of user experiences with habitat management. This will be a topic of a future article. For now get out and enjoy the very reason we are here, and if you can, do it on a fat tire mountain bike!

Group rides

Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western in Winter Park weekly group ride is now over for the season. Come join us this spring as soon as conditions will allow, 970-726-5988

Looking for more information? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out 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 me at

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