I feel incredibly blessed to have the life than I have. I get to write about ebikes, lots of people seem to enjoy what I write, and I get to ride my ebike every single day. Riding in the snow is one of the few delightful extravagances that my life has afforded me. I feel like electric fat biking in the snow is a completely new sport that I have been able to ‘figure out’ the last several years. I get to hear from lots of people who are out in the snow enjoying powering through the woods all winter long in almost any conditions. This article is about my gratitude for discovering this sport, how it keeps me sane during the long winter months and why I think electric fat biking in snow might someday be ‘the next big thing’.
I get so excited when I wake up and I see that there is fresh powder on the ground. For me, it’s like being a little kid again. The joy and wonder of seeing the snow falling on the ground takes me back to a place where everything seems amazing, magical and wonderful. I have a routine when it comes to winter fat biking that rarely seems to change at all. I get up early and get my backpack battery and bike and throw them in the car. I find the warmest gloves I can and then velcro my right pant leg so it won’t get caught in the chainring. If I’m at my wife’s house I literally just roll my fat bike out the front door and hit the trail I made that is 100 ft from the front door. I tend to ride uphill first so if there is a problem with my bike it is easier to get back to the house. If the snow is super deep I have a steep downhill trail that I run then I slog back up the 1.2 mile plowed driveway 800 vertical feet to the house (our snowplowing bill is insane). Having steep downhills when there are more than 6 inches of snow helps a lot with how much strain is put on the drive unit.
Climate change is bringing about the age of the end of the snowmobile
The winters are getting noticeably milder as the decades churn on. There is also tending to be more warm & rainy spells in the middle of winter which ends up completely destroying the base. This means that winter sports like XC skiing and snowmobiling are far less enjoyable than they used to be. Nobody wants to go out in marginal conditions and trash their equipment. The best part of riding fat bikes in the snow is that it doesn’t matter if there is no base or if there are large patches of bare ground. You just roll over everything like nothing.
Although I XC ski when there is fresh powder, I find that I often have a lot more fun riding my electric fat bike than I do skiing. Good conditions for skiing are much more narrow than they are for riding a fat bike and often it will be too icy or too slushy to have a good time. Riding first thing in the morning when I get up is often the best way to enjoy the good conditions. Typically as it warms up the snow gets mushier and creates more drag. Fluffy powder and a crisp crust are great combinations as the powder produces hardly any drag and the crisp crust allows you to ride on the surface, often without falling through. Having trails that are groomed will allow you to go much farther, but I rarely groom my trails and I find it is a lot of fun just plowing through the snow. Often on the uphill stretches, I will ride in the path that is already packed down to save battery power, but on the downhill sections, I always aim for the fresh snow which is much more fun to ride in and allows me to control my speed without using the brakes as much.
Now that I spend 2 hours in the woods electric fat biking in the snow, winter gone from becoming my least favorite season to my most favorite one. Anyone who can ride a bike, can learn to singletrack trail ride in the snow. The key is to have a powerful mid-drive with a tiny chainring and a big battery that is 20Ah or bigger. Like many things, the more powerful, the better as you can never have too much power.