Here in Minnesota we don't have the luxury of riding in the mud... Or shorts for that matter. We have snow and real cold, try on -12°F the actual temp the first morning of shooting, but that's the way Minnesotans like it. As my dad once said, "it keeps the riffraff out." Luckily, I was kitted out with products from 45NRTH, a Minnesotan company that specializes in deep winter riding gear, so I was able to stay warm all day long. I can't say the same for my bike with its frozen brakes, drivetrain and suspension or our poor frozen cameras and batteries that we had to tape hand warmers to.—Max Fierek
At -12° F it is so cold that icicles form in beards and goggles ice over from the inside!
Our shoot started at 7am on Friday morning at the local ski hill and bike park Spirit Mountain who agreed to not only let us ride and film in the terrain park on the jumps, but also sent over a private shuttle, a Polaris side-by-side with tracks! Which we have decided is the best winter shuttle vehicle ever, also definitely had Max stoked, no need to hike up the hill 30 times to get the shot.
Saturday morning we changed things up, another early start but this time heading to the shores of Lake Superior to ride the enormous icebergs that form from the ice being pushed around all winter.
After wrapping up on the lake it was a crazy day, hurrying across town to shoot the groomed trails at Lester Park. One of the great things about Duluth is that COGGS the local trail association actually grooms and maintains many of the trails around town in the winter and they do such a phenomenal job that when it's cold the trails are actually firm enough to ride on a normal bike with pretty much no issues at all! Other than your suspension freezing.
Then again we rushed back to Spirit to catch afternoon golden hour on Calculated Risk, one of the bike park runs open both winter and summer. A thick layer of ice on the lower section of Calc made us more then appreciative of the studs, being able to ride a perfectly smooth ice made flow trail that in the summer is so chundery it will rattle your teeth out is something special that you can only achieve when riding in the winter. Spirit is one of a kind where you can ride the lift there year round with your bike.
Overall this shoot was something we all thought only possible in dreams, after 3 years Michael Brower and Max Fierek had finally pulled it together with the help of Rhett Williams. We all would really like to thank Spirit Mountain and 45NRTH for the support of this project. Don't let winter stop you from riding your bike, whether you live in the rainy PNW or the iced over Midwest, get out and ride your bikes. I promise you won't regret it.
You can follow Max Fierek @mtbfierek, video extraordinaire Micheal Brower @thehansdampf and photographer Rhett Williams @r.s.williams_photography for more content like this.