Editor’s Note: In September 2015, Mtbr features editor Jason Sumner fled Colorado’s crowded Front Range and moved his family to Crested Butte, one of the world’s premier mountain biking destinations. Crested Butte Chronicles is Sumner’s on-again, off-again column about living and riding high in the Colorado Rockies.
For the second year running, Crested Butte, Colorado, is putting the phat in fat biking with the second annual Borealis Fat Bike World Championships. Starting with a kick-off party next Wednesday, fat heads from around the country (and even the globe) will be treated to four days of the best winter riding around, plus beer, music, more beer, two races, and even chairlift assisted corduroy shredding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Here then are seven reasons why this event, and the local fat biking scene in general, are going off.
1. So much trail
In December, local MTB advocacy organization Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association got permission from the National Forest Service to groom approximately 37 miles of road and trail. Since then they’ve packed in routes out several of the local drainages, and even created a true backcountry trail riding experience off Brush Creek Road on the Canal Trail, a well-known summertime singletrack rip that’s now flowy, fast and fun in the winter, too. Other highlights include an uber-scenic multi-use track from the Snodgrass Trailhead parking lot out to the Gothic Townsite, and several miles of twisting snow trail at CBMR’s North Village, which just as last year, will play host to next Thursday’s tune-up race. Here’s some video from the Canal Trail courtesy of Dave Ochs, CBMBA executive director and fat bike trail groomer extraordinaire.
2. The skiing is epic right now
In case you don’t watch the news, Crested Butte and the surrounding mountains received record snowfall (measured in feet) during the first two weeks of 2017. Among the notable occurrences during CB snowmageddon 2017, the local school (and my daughter’s daycare) closed for the first time in decades, and the ski area actually shut down early one day due to the massive storm. But all is back to normal now, with great conditions at the resort and in the backcountry (just be careful if you venture out and check the local avalanche forecast).
3. Beer, lots of beer
The Fat Bike World’s opening night party is at Crested Butte’s Brick Oven Pizzeria, which has one of the best beer lists you’ll find anywhere. Whether you like to go deep down the Belgian ale rabbit hole or are partial to the American craft scene, this place has you covered. The pizza is pretty good, too. The rest of the week, Upslope will take the proverbial center tap, as official beer sponsor of the event. We’re big fans of their blood orange saison. The lager is damn good, too.
4. World Champions will be crowned
On Saturday, the event returns to the east valley Nordic trails for big show. Unofficial (f*ck USAC and the UCI) World Champions will be crowned, and everyone else will have a blast riding sweet track in the shadow of Mount Crested Butte.
5. Free fat bike demos
In between Thursday and Saturday’s races is Friday’s free demo day. Head out to the Snodgrass trailhead parking area and check out the latest and greatest from Borealis, Rocky Mountain, Cima, and Proudfoot, plus fleets from all the local rental shops, including our friends at Big Al’s Bicycle Heaven, who have lots of rental bikes if you’re looking for a race steed. Demo day will be a great chance to check-out the Gothic Road track and/or spin some laps on the North Village circuit. Afterwards head over to the evening party at the Avalanche Bar, which will be serving free beer.
6. Chairlift assisted fat biking
Last year, almost on lark, Crested Butte Mountain Resort opened up one of its chairlifts to fat bikers for a day to make it easier to get to the top of the hill. This year, it’s part of the plan going in. Starting at 10 a.m. Sunday, event participants will be able to load the Goldlink chairlift, which heads up to the Umbrella Bar, where, you guessed it, free beer will be served all day.
7. Human branding
Taking a page from Singlespeed World Championships (mountain bike and cyclocross), Fat Bike World’s will bestow its own special mark on event winners. But instead of tattoos, this prize is far more bad ass (pun intended). Press play if you’re not afraid of burning flesh.
For more info and the complete schedule of events check out www.cbchamber.com.