Mountain Bike up Snow King
Jonesing to race your bike? You don't have to wait 'til summer. Grab your snow mountain bike
, or rent one (see below) and head over to the town hill February 11th at 4:45pm for the first Snow King Snow Bike race.
There will be three different entry classes. One will ride just one lap, the second will ride two, and the third will be two laps done by teams of two, one lap each.
The race course was gelled after consulting with snow bike experts Cary Smith and David Hunger, and it's FUN!
Registration is on the day of the race, Feb. 11th from 3:35 pm to 4:30 pm.
If you don't have the legs or lungs to conquer this extraordinary feat, come out and watch. There's an excellent opportunity for spectating on this course. Take some pictures and videos of your racing friends and, of course, cheer them on.
Details on the Snow King Snow Bike Race
- HELMETS REQUIRED.
- Registration: Day of race 3:35 to 4:30 in the Snow King Lobby. $5 per person registration fee.
- The course is about three miles long, 824 feet vertical gain.
- Sign up for one, two or three laps, or race up to three with a team.
- Snow Bike Demos by local shops from noon-4pm.
- Contacts: Adam Shankland at 307-730-8906 or Dave Hunger at 307-690-0712
About Snow Biking
Snow biking most likely started when the Iditabike race started in 1987 using the same route of the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska. Like these arduous races, snow biking is definitely tough, but it's gaining in popularity nevertheless.
According to Simon Rankower from allweathersports.com in Alaska, snow biking is "more interesting and fun than riding on the dirt. And talk about power riding--wait until you go on your first ride in about four to six inches of powder. Riding in the snow is hard and technical. 10 miles in the snow is like 20 miles on a dirt trail.
It's great way to stay in shape for your summer mountain biking and may even improve your bike handling skills.
Snow biking also generates a lot of heat since it's so strenuous. Like all cardio winter sports, dress in layers! Start with a wool or synthetic base layer, top that with a lightweight
insulation layer like a Nano Puff vest, and cover those with a waterproof shell or riding jacket, depending on the temperatures. Heavy tights made out of Polartec or something similar are a must to keep your legs, and especially your knees, warm. Cloudveil "Run Don't Walk" tights are a good example. Lobster gloves or ski gloves will keep your hands warm, but will have enough dexterity for shifting gears and braking.
"Riding in the snow is hard and technical. 10 miles in the snow is like 20 miles on a dirt trail." -- Simon Rankower
- "Pedal smoothly and relax your upper body, especially on ice and soft snow.
- When the bike starts going sideways, make small corrections rather than over steering and weaving down the trail. Practice riding in a straight line when the trail is good so it's easier under bad conditions.
- On some soft trails, higher speeds take less effort than lower speeds, because your tires sink into the snow less at higher speed.
- Snow machines leave the center of the trail soft. Their best tracks are left by their skis, if you can ride straight enough to use them.
- Road ice can provide lots of traction or very little. Learn how the different types look and sound. Try not to brake hard on the slippery sort, or if you must, use only your rear brake. Watch for dry patches where you can do your braking or turning."
Where to Snow Bike in the Jackson Hole Area
There are plenty of places to ride your snow bike in the Jackson Hole area. Groomed Nordic trails, snowmobile groomed trails, snowmobile singletrack, and winter roads are good choices. In Jackson, Cache Creek is a great place to start since it's groomed twice weekly and has a pretty gentle grade. The Hagen Trail, which can be accessed at the Cache Creek trail head can be a good if there isn't too much snow and is a bit more climbing. Check the Jackson Hole Community Pathways Winter Trail Map
for more ideas on where to go and info on grooming/plowing days and times.
Snow King hill, of course, is a great place to ride, but the grade is, well, not-so-gentle. Ride the jeep road up after the resort closes or on Monday's for an epic challenge.
Drive over the Teton Pass to Teton Valley for numerous winter biking options. Teton and Horseshoe Canyons are obvious picks for beginners as they are groomed and offer gentle grades. Grand Targhee Resort features more advanced trails. Check out this blog post, Experts in the FAT since 2007
, on Fitzgerald's website for more info about where to ride and great trail etiquette tips.
"Now the greater Teton area has become a mecca for Winter Fat Biking and the people rejoice as their legs are prepared for the Spring riding like never before and the lack of a powder day offers a wondrous opportunity to explore new lands." -- Scott Fitzgerald
Where to Buy or Rent Snow Bikes in the Jackson Hole Area
A short bike ride from Snow King Resort, The Hub Bicycles
offers snow Surly Pugsley snow bikes for sale or rent. To have one for your very own, it's going to set you back about $1650. Email
or call them at 307-200-6144 to reserve a Surly Pugsley (in the appropriately named color, "snowblind") and ride it over to the King.
in Victor, ID sells the Salsa Mukluk 3 for $1599 or demos it for $35/day or $50 for the weekend. Call the shop to reserve one or for more info: 208-787-2453