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Experts in the FAT since 2007



5 years ago we brought the first Surly Pugsley into the shop and wondered if this whole concept of Fat Biking would catch on.  At first most customers scoffed as they proclaimed with polished pride, “That’s cool and all, but I’m a skier in the winter.”  It was as if to say, “Sure, I live and breath all things bike from April to November but Ullr, the great god of Snow, would forever render my skis waxless and my goggles fogged if I ever thought about throwing a leg over a bike in the winter.”  We just smiled and politely offered these apostles of shuss a demo to see for themselves.  One by one the die hard skiers fell to the magic of the Fat Tire while assuring Ullr that they would not stray too far from the flock.  Ullr sat back and laughed at his fearful minions, “FOOLS!  I love to ride the Fat when the skiing blows!”

Now the greater Teton area has become a mecca for Winter Fat Biking and the people rejoice as their legs are prepared for the Spring riding like never before and the lack of a powder day offers a wondrous opportunity to explore new lands.  Come… rejoice.

Etiquette

We Fat Bikers are the new users on the trails and should be extra polite and courteous when out there riding.  Here are a few tips to always keep in mind when riding Fat (or skinny for that matter).

Fat Biker Snowmobile Trail trail etiquette:

  • Install white flashing front lights and red flashing rear lights on Fat Bikes
  • Yielding to Snowmobile traffic
  • Riding as far right as possible at all times
  • General awareness of parking area conditions that make it hard for Snowmobile trailers to maneuver
  • Communicating with other trail users in a friendly manner
  • Idaho Fat bike owners are encouraged to join the ISSA (Idaho State Snowmobile Assoc) http://www.idahosnow.org/

Fat Biker Nordic Trail trail etiquette:

  • Do not ride if the Nordic track is posted for skiing only
  • Do not ride if the snow is too soft
  • Give skate skiers a wide berth
  • Do not ride in the classic ski tracks
  • Make a donation to the club or organization who grooms your local Nordic trail
  • As a general rule, if you have to get off and push your bike, the snow is too soft and you absolutely shouldn’t be on the Nordic trails. If you are leaving a trough deeper than an inch or are having a hard time riding in a straight line, it is probably too soft to be on the Nordic trails.

Grand Targhee Fat Bike Guidelines and Rules

  • Bikes – should yield right away at all intersections.
  • Snow bike lane- ride to left of classic track/ yield to all skiers.
  • Stay to right side of trail around corners and for oncoming
  • Snow bike riders – should let track set –up until 10:00am on morning in which the track is groomed.
  • Snow bikes – Ride Rick’s Basin and Quakie loops
  • Counterclockwise only( best direction for hills)
  • All riders should have trails pass.
  • Trails – Do not ride in soft conditions.
  • Hard packed conditions on trails with 2”new snow is ok, more than 2”( you can’t climb or descend very well)
  • In a snow cycle 12” or more with freshly groomed trails can be too soft. If you leave a rut, it’s to soft.
  • Snow bikes only on trails, tires must be 3.7” or bigger.

Fat Bike Etiquette Article by Dave Byers

What’s the deal with the gear?

Ahhh, there are many secrets to be discovered in this new sport.  Let us begin with the bike…

Salsa Mukluk 3 Complete $1599 ------ Rentals: $35/day $50/weekend

 

At Fitzgerald’s, we are a big supporter of the Salsa Mukluk.   The Mukluk offers you a light weight Aluminum frame and modern Fat Bike geometry at an amazing price!  Fat Biking is not the fastest form of cycling so you’ll appreciate the lighter frame and fatter rims when you’re cruising along at 5 miles an hour ;)

There are many other options out there and here is a good article from 2010 that will give you some more ideas…

2010 Snowbike State of the Union Article

We have much more to discuss in the “gear” category… stay tuned.

Where to Ride.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, you can not “braaaap” your way across an open snow field on a Fat Bike.  The critical component to a successful Fat Bike ride is a supportable base under your rubber (good tip for life in general).  So groomed Nordic trails, snowmobile groomed trails, snowmobile “singletrack”, and winter roads is the arena in which this sport takes place.  Around here there is no shortage of destinations.

Wyoming:

Around Jackson you can keep yourself entertained with a handful of groomed trails.  The Cache Creek and Game Creek trails offer consistent grooming and easy in-town access.  Keep an eye on Putt-Putt and Hagen for doable Winter singletrack riding when the snow storms have been few and far between.  Hagen specifically can be awesome!

If you are looking for a more “back country” experience, take the beautiful drive to Togwotee Lodge on a sunny day and explore the Continental Divide Trails.  The CD-V-CD route is a great 25mile loop or make it a big longer by substituting the K Trail instead of the V for a 35 mile option.  This is the home of the Togwotee Winter Classic Snowbike Race.

Teton Valley Idaho:

The real goods are in Idaho.   Thanks to an extremely active State Parks and Rec grooming program, we have literally hundreds of miles of groomed trails to be explored.  Have you ridden your bike in the Horseshoe Canyon?  Well that’s a great place to begin your Winter ride too.  Head to the end of Horseshoe Canyon Rd and park where the plowing ends (be aware that snowmobile trailers need ample room to maneuver).  Ride out and back to Packsaddle Rd or climb high into the Big Holes for an all day adventure.  Trail head maps will show you the way.

On the East side of the Valley, look to the canyons for more adventure.  Teton Canyon is groomed thanks to Teton Valley Trails and Pathways and Darby Canyon is snowmobile packed and less frequently traveled.

Don’t forget Grand Targhee!  Thanks to Andy Williams at the ‘Ghee, they are the first resort in the Country to offer Fat Biking on their Nordic trails.  Check in with the Activity Center for your day pass and be sure to check the grooming report before you go to find out if conditions are favorable for bikes that day.

Of course, you haven’t really experienced Teton Valley until you have turned off the highway and explored our back roads.  When the snow builds up, the Valley Fat Biking is amazing.  Whether you are heading out for 5 miles or a Winter Century, there is no limit to the exploration.  Check in with the shop for a suggested route and current conditions.

Island Park, ID and West Yellowstone, MT

Have I used the term Mecca too much already?  Well ignore all the previous references because this is it!  The snowmobile trails book-ended by these two communities is EPIC!  Phenomenal day rides or multi-day adventures await.  Check in with the shop for more info on these areas and take a look at the map below:

Freemont County Grooming Map

For latest grooming report call 208-624-7266

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks:

Don’t get me started…. Although both parks boast a desire to increase non-motorized Winter use, riding your bicycle on groomed park roads is currently illegal.  This bicycle ban is the result of misconceptions about the safety of other Winter users sharing the trail with cyclists.  Yes, that’s right, even in Yellowstone you can not ride your bicycle on the road where snow coaches, snowmobiles, skiers, and snow shoers are peacefully co-existing.  Stay tuned as we continue dialog with both parks about changing these unfortunate regulations.

Events

Grand Targhee Snow Bike RaceResults

Togwotee Winter Classic

West Yellowstone Equinox Snow Challenge



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