Roll 'Em Fat

fat tire, biking, snow, winter

Roll 'Em Fat

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David Tucker

Winter biking around the Bozone. 

Come winter, most people prefer two skis to two wheels, but avid cyclists aren’t “most people.” If they can’t push miles no matter the weather, they aren’t themselves. Luckily, the Bozeman area’s got a bounty of winter options, from town-trail rides to small-town races around the region—so slip on some mittens, mount your fat-bike, and ride until your feet go numb.

In Town

Cherry River: Get there using town trails and enjoy this northside gem.

Gallagator to Tuckerman: Heavy foot traffic keeps the snow packed down, making this a great mid-day option if you work downtown or on campus.

Peets Hill: It’s great in the summer, it’s great in the winter. The ride is short, but tack on a beer downtown to the beginning or end and you have a nice, active happy hour. Bring lights. 

On Trail

Moser: The Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association (SWMMBA) grooms certain Moser trails. If you’d like more fat-biking options, consider a donation to their winter-trails program.

Storm Castle Road: When it’s groomed for snowmobiling, this makes an excellent half-day pedal.

Battle Ridge: Excellent views of the Bridgers, but you won’t be alone. This is a popular snowmobile access, and conditions vary wildly.

Fairy Lake: Again, expect company and wait until it’s been groomed.

Big Sky: The Gallatin Valley Snowmobile Association periodically grooms Buck Ridge and the Taylor Fork road. Both make excellent rides.

Crosscut: The Nordic ski area has expanded fat-bike access and offers groomed trails for a small fee—plus there’s hot coffee in the lodge. 

Up the Ante
If you like competition, you’re in the right place. One of the stoutest winter bike races in the country takes place just southwest of us in Island Park. The Fat Pursuit series features 60k, 200k, and 200-mile courses, and race organizers host camps preceding the races for novices looking to get into the sport.

Do Diligence
While certain trails on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest are open to bikes year-round, many have seasonal closures. Know the regs and remember that your decisions affect the entire biking community. If you’re riding groomed trails, they got that way because someone made them so. The Gallatin Valley Snowmobile Association does much of the work, and SWMMBA helps out around town. To ride on groomed trails, you need a trails pass, just like a snowmobiler. They’re available for purchase around town; contact the Forest Service for more info. If you’d like to see expanded winter-biking opportunities, get in touch with SWMMBA at [email protected].

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