As winter approaches, some Blackhawk members will be getting out their “fat bikes” to keep riding our trails all winter long. Fat bikes have very wide tires that are able to run at low air pressure (e.g., 5 p.s.i), so that they can ride on snow without digging in. For those who want to learn more about fat biking, we’ve developed frequently asked questions, below. More information about fat biking is also described on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_NTU8gS6IY
Q: What is a “fat bike?”
A: A fat bike has larger tires that are able to ride on snow without making ruts. Tires are at least 3.8 inches wide, more often 4 to 5 inches wide. The tire pressure should be lower for softer snow (e.g., 5-6 psi), and more for harder surfaces (e.g., 10 psi).
Q: When does the “winter” biking season begin?
A: The fat biking season at Blackhawk runs from November 1 – March 31.
Q: Can I use my regular mountain bike during the winter season?
A: You may use your regular mountain bike during the winter, but only when there is no snow on the ground. Once the trails have packed snow, you must use a “fat bike” that has wider tires.
Q: What does “freeze-thaw cycle” mean?
A: The weather in November causes a “freeze-thaw” situation, where the trails freeze at night, but thaw during the day, as the temperature goes above freezing. This leads to muddy trails are dangerous to ride, and easy to damage. For more information, check out: http://www.combomtb.com/blog/2014/12/5/freezethaw-cycles-explained
Q: What is the best time of day to ride trails:
A: It is best to ride trails when the temperatures are below freezing, and even better if the temperatures are below 28 degree.
Q: Does Blackhawk groom the fat bike trails?
A: Yes, volunteers use a specially made groomer, called a “Snow Dog” to groom the trails.
Q: What trails can I ride on at Blackhawk?
A: A fat bike winter bike map is available at: https://www.blackhawkskiclub.org/news/winter-fat-bike-trail-map
Q: Can I walk on the fat bike trails in the winter?
A: Unfortunately, walking on the fat bike trails creates holes where your boots sink into the snow. If you want to walk on the trails, please use snowshoes, so that your feet do not ruin the trails.
Q: What trails are open during the winter?
A: The following trails will be open during the winter:
- Creek Trail (2-way in the winter only)
- East and West Connectors -- STOP, and then use caution when crossing the road
- Gully Jump Line and the new Flow Trail -- these require grooming with snowshoes, so conditions are variable
- Howling Wolff -- STOP, and then use caution when crossing the road
- Pines Trail -- this trail crosses the nordic ski trail in many places. Please use caution at these crossings, and yield to skiers
- Roller Coaster -- watch out at the bottom as you cross the alpine ski trail to the other trails
- Springs Trail -- stay to the right along the nordic ski trail
- Switchbacks -- use caution and yield to skiers when crossing the ski trail at the bottom, to the Springs Trail
- Twist and Shout -- this crosses the nordic ski trail. Please use caution at the crossings, and yield to skiers
- Ziggy Up -- go all the way up to the parking lot (good making that last climb ;)
Q: Why are some trails are closed during the winter?
A: To avoid conflicts with alpine and Nordic skiing, some trails are closed once the ski trails are groomed. The following trails will be closed during the winter:
- Gully Climb (new)
- Ziggy Down
Q: Can I ride on the ski trails?
A: No. Riding is not permitted on any alpine (downhill) ski trails. Riding is not permitted on cross country ski trails, except at a few places where the fat bike trails cross the ski trails or where riders go along the far right side of the trail. These crossing are marked with sign, advising bikers to yield to skiers.
Q: Where can I learn more about fat biking?
A: There are many excellent websites that describe fat biking. A few include:
Q: What if I have more questions?
A: Please contact us at email@example.com