Winter Biking: The New Kid on the Winter Activity Scene
Winter biking is the ‘new’ kid on the winter activity scene. This sport is trending more than ever because it is so enjoyable and such an easy way to explore our winter wonderland. Winter biking provides a glorious way to slow down a little and see the beauty of a snowy landscape. Whether you put studded tires on your mountain bike or ride a Fat Bike, winter biking is fun. That is, if the conditions are right. Fernie offers a wide assortment of winter trails that are groomed regularly.
What to Wear
Layer, layer, layer is the key to enjoying this winter exercise. You will be surprised by how much biking in cold weather increases body heat. Be ready to shed a layer on the climb and put a layer on for the descent. A thin neck tube (aka a neck gaiter) can cover the ears, neck, face and provide a thin layer of protection against the elements. Thin breathable baselayers and a midlayer. Wear a thin base layer under bike pants, Nordic pants or any flexible pants that have some stretch. For boots any winter boots or hiking boots will work but if you get into winter biking invest in a pair of fatbiking-specific boots. When the temperatures get really cold, use heated socks or foot warmers to keep the chill out. Try an active thermal glove to avoid getting the gloves damp with heat or invest in a set of bar mitts for additional protection against the elements.
What To Ride
The key to a good ride (and good trail etiquette) is to only ride a trail when it is rideable (so you don’t leave deep tire ruts). Trail conditions do vary considerably based on recent weather, temperature and grooming. The condition of the trails can be checked on TrailForks, Facebook bike pages or stop into one of the local bike shops for an updated trail status.
If you are just beginning your journey with winter biking, check out the 'Town Loop' which goes along the river north of the golf course, by Maiden Lake, to the boat launch or the Montane trail network. If you are an intermediate or advanced winter rider, check out Ridgemont and the Fernie Ridge trail network or the groomed multi-use trails at Fernie Alpine Resort. Depending on conditions, Deadfall Downhill, Phat B to Red Sonja or Black Betty, and Contra-Trail Dogs offer more challenging options.
Cindy Sleeman is an avid mountain adventurer, during every season, and enjoys getting people together to celebrate whether it’s hiking, biking, or skiing.
Photo by Nick Nault