Colorado consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in America. It is no surprise, then, that Coloradans are smitten with a new outdoor winter activity that sounds insane to those in less active climes: fat biking.
This snow-season innovation allows exercise-zany Coloradans to keep their wheels spinning, no matter the season. Find out where to fat bike in Colorado below.
Fat bikes are becoming fixtures on groomed multi-use trails throughout Colorado, and many Nordic centers and ski resorts are now allowing them on their trails. Some areas are even hosting competitive races — Como puts on the annual 20-mile Abominable Winter Fat Bike Race; Crested Butte, always ready to adopt biking innovations, is home to the Fat Bike World Championships; Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs and Copper Mountain both host races and rides guided by moon and bike lights; the Cloud City Wheelers bicyling club in Leadville coordinates its Winter Mountain Bike Race Series throughout the snowy season; and the 10-hour Silverton Whiteout race debuted in 2015. (Many events are in January; check our events page for details.)
The comically wide tires bring back memories of clunky first-generation mountain bikes, when weight and agility weren’t main priorities. With fatter tires and handlebars and not-kidding-around treads, these new bikes aren’t speedy, but they can go just about anywhere, floating on the snow and giving people of all skill levels a new mode of exploration. Many ski areas offer lessons with staff instructors; the bikes’ three-point stance and low center of gravity make it an easy activity to pick up.
These are just a few of the shops that cater to those wanting to spin their wheels atop the powder:
• BootDoctors and Paragon Outdoors in Telluride
• The Hub Bicycle Shop in Colorado Springs
• Orange Peel Bicyle Service in Steamboat Springs
• Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash
• Golden Bike Shop in Golden
• Colorado Bike Service in EagleVail
• Rocky Mountain Ski & Raft in South Fork
• Kokopelli Bike & Board in Cortez
• University Bikes in Boulder
• Cycles of Life in Leadville
• The Broadmoor Outfitters in Colorado Springs
There's no need to go it alone! These outfitters can give you as little or as much guidance as you're seeking on your first fat-bike outing:
• BootDoctors and Paragon Outdoors in Telluride offers half-day guided fat-bike tours that include rentals and a guide that will lead you to the best trail for your ability and the weather conditions.
• Absolute Bikes Adventure in Salida guides you through snowy backcountry on one- to five-hour tours, including one ride to the St. Elmo ghost town.
• Front Range Guides gives guided half- and full-day custom tours in Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins that include a “cycling ambassador,” rentals, transportation, lunch/trail snacks and a video of your tour.
• Breck Bike Guides in Breckenridge lets you join the staff for a snowy cruise from their downtown shop on a mellow loop or go big with an all-day adventure.
• Beer & Bike Tours in Fort Collins leads the way during fat-bike adventures on snow-packed trails or singletrack at Lory State Park and surrounding areas. Rent from their fleet or bring your own ride, then look forward to a local craft brew at the day's end.
• Ignite Adaptive Sports in Nederland offers adaptive fat-bike lessons near locally loved Elodora Mountain.
Where to Fat Bike
Some of the spots that allow fat biking on their trails:
• Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System
• Breckenridge Gold Run Nordic Ski Center
• Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash
• Latigo Ranch in Kremmling
• Durango Nordic Center at Purgatory Resort
• Howelsen Hill Nordic Center, Emerald Mountain and Lake Catamount Touring Center in Steamboat Springs
• Sunlight Mountain Resort
• YMCA of the Rockies — Snow Mountain Ranch
Ski Bike Down the Slopes
Ski biking (sometimes called snow biking) is another way to experience the beauty of a Colorado winter and also get your adrenaline flowing. It’s simply a bike with the wheels replaced by skis. Many ski areas offer lessons with staff instructors; the bikes’ three-point stance and low center of gravity make it an easy activity to pick up.