Fat bikers live on mountain biking's fringe. That's what makes the sport and its participants great. You have to be a little bit off to think riding bikes in the winter, on a powder day, in subzero temps is a good idea. Highland Mountain Bike Park
assembled 400 of fat biking's most adventurous riders on Saturday, February 11th for the first annual Winter Woolly! New England's first ever lift accessed fat bike event. Those in attendance were some of the most dedicated riders, driving from as far as five hours away! Their reward, loose and deep lift laps.
Early morning conditions were challenging, to say the least! A week prior, the park's hard packed trails were running as well as their summertime prime. Hero snow, as we called it. Out of left field, Ol' Man Winter lobbed a powdery curve ball our way.
Highland owner Mark Hayes dusts off the chairs after firing up the lift for the first time in months.
Highland presents well under a blanket of snow.
Here they come.
Fat bike lift lines reunion.
No one seemed deterred by this. The lift was packed with smiling faces. From the lift ride, riders watched on as some on bikes below made clever maneuvers down the trails. Others less familiar with the hardship of fat bikes tumbled their way down the mountain. Lucky, epic fails were greeted with two and a half feet of powdery pillows to the face and a good laugh.
Another grinning rider obviously suffering from some sort of fat bike mania.
By 11:00 am the bar was packed with folks telling heroic survival stories. Rumor was the trails were improving as traffic pushed the tapering snowfall to the sides of a widening rut. By race time there was a mega-rut that was running fairly smooth...in some spots.
Noon arrived and Tom from Highland Trails emerged with a new weapon. If the snow wouldn't pack he'd plow it. Tom had worked all morning fabricating a drag-plow to go behind his snowmobile. Only at Highland!
By midafternoon, the crew had cleared two of the primary trails down to the original snow bed surface. With added traction and ruts removed the pace quickened to "foot out flat out".
By day's end the riding was so good that, as the lift spun its last, folks were begging for more.
"When are you going to open again?!" Was the resounding question of the day.
Soon fellow fringe fat bikers. Soon!
Every rider in attendance had a Woolly moment like this.
Chairlift + fat bikes = f yeah.
Groomer squadron, thanks to Tilton-Northfield Arch Trail Travelers snowmobile club!
Mark Hayes, hands on.
What this hell is a Winter Woolly?
Vendor party garden.
Brooke Skatchard brought a fleet of bikes equipped with his Fat Bike Skis. He also won the race by almost a minute (on a four-minute course). These things rip!
Some racers didn't fare as well as others.
Late day trails were running sweet.
5.2" tires get the hook.
Clif took over the mid-mountain shack for the day. Thanks for the bites ladies!
Best brain bucket award goes to... this guy.
Just like summer, only more clothes.
Lil Ide says ski pants are for sissies.
The Woolliest man in fat biking, Mike Mansmann, in hot pursuit Max Shredley.
As the proverb states: "what drags gets dirty!"