Fat Bike festivals and races are taking off around the state. Put these on your winter ‘To Do’ list.
You might think the busiest weekends of the year at East Burke’s Wildflower Inn might be July 4 or Labor Day, not the dead of winter. Not so, says owner Jim O’Reilly. Two years ago, more than 400 people showed up at the trails just outside his doorstep to participate in the third annual Winterbike. The festival, started by Kingdom Trails and Mountain Bike Vermont, even drew a crowd last year—and that was after it had been officially cancelled due to lack of snow.
This year, Winterbike is back on March 4 with group rides, demos, races, vendors, bonfires, beverages and more. Riders can demo or rent a fat bike, buy a $15 trail pass at the winter headquarters (a yurt at 2059 Darling Hill Rd.) and head out on 25 miles of groomed singletrack, which now extends to the west side of Darling Hill.
Winterbike isn’t the only fat tire festival. The fat tire year kicked off with Uberwintern, a fat bike festival in Stowe on Jan. 7. On Feb. 11, a new event, Fatscutney, debuts with a 10-mile singletrack race, Nordic and snowshoeing events. The same day, Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton hosts the non-competitive Rikert Nordic Center Fatbike Roundup.
On Feb. 26, The Stowe Derby, the classic ski race that sends people screaming down from the top of Mt. Mansfield on trails into the town of Stowe, will feature both skinny ski and fat bike divisions again this year. If you’re feeling studly, you can enter all three starts (skate, classic and fat bike start at separate times) to compete for the Fat Meister prize.
Also on Feb. 26 is Fatstock. Brought to you by the same folks who put on the Overland Grand Prix, Fatstock bills itself as “a fat bike race in beautiful Woodstock, Vt. on a long, circuitous, epic course.” Anyone who knows race organizer Peter Vollers will take the “long, circuitous, epic” part seriously. For details on all of these, see our Race & Event Guide, p. 31.