Outdoors blog

Snow bikers get pass to ride Methow ski trails

Fat bikes, also known as snow bikes, take advantage of huge low-pressure tires that offer buoyancy for pedaling over snow-covered trails.  The bikes will be allowed on some trails in the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association system starting in 2012.    (MVSTA)
Fat bikes, also known as snow bikes, take advantage of huge low-pressure tires that offer buoyancy for pedaling over snow-covered trails. The bikes will be allowed on some trails in the Methow Valley Sport Trails Association system starting in 2012. (MVSTA)

WINTER SPORTS -- The  Methow Valley Sport Trails Association is opening portions of its 120-mile groomed nordic trail system to bicycles this year.

 Skiers headed out on a few of the nationally celebrated nordic trails that had enough snow for grooming this week.

When more snow falls, several trails will be opened to “fat bike” enthusiasts who rely on mountain bikes with oversized low-pressure tires to keep from sinking into the snow and offer more traction.

See a promotional video for snow biking.

 “We are piloting fat biking with our eyes and ears wide open,” said James DeSalvo, MVSTA executive director. 

“We believe we can manage fat biking use so that it has no greater impact to our trail platform than that of our traditional skiing public,” he said, adding that feedback would guide the future of the program.

Also new this year on MVSTA trails:

  • Youths 17 and younger ski free.
  • A $5 daily pass is required for skiing with dogs on trails that are open for skijoring.

Fat bikes are available for rent at Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop.  Rack adaptors are available for customers so they can transport rental fat bikes to the riding area.

Fat bike demo days are scheduled in the Methow Valley Dec. 16 and Jan. 13.

Click here for info on these and other Methow Valley events.

Click here for the MVSTA grooming report.

Read on for the guidelines MVSTA has established for snow biking on the trail system:

MVSTA SNOW BIKING GUIDELINES

  • Do not ride in soft conditions. Please stay off trails with more than 3” of new snow.
  • Bikes yield to all other users. Stay to right side of trail at all times, stay out of the classic ski tracks, and give skate skiers a wide berth.
  • If you are riding on a free trail like Big Valley please consider becoming a member of MVSTA.
  • Be a good trail citizen. If the conditions will cause you to leave ruts that will impede skiing, leave the trail. As a general rule, if you have to get off and push or carry your bike, the snow is too soft and you must get off the Nordic trails. If you are leaving a rut deeper than an inch or are having a hard time riding in a straight line, it is also too soft to be on the Nordic trails.
  • Be an ambassador for the sport – stay polite, educate others, discourage bad behavior, follow the rules, and we’ll all have a good time this winter. Snow bike riding next winter depends on how things go this year. So, spread the word about snow biking, make it fun, keep it safe.



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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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