Michigan Resorts Start To Offer Fat Tire (Snow) Biking
Fat tire biking, snow biking, or whatever you want to call it has been gaining popularity at eastern and western ski resorts the last couple of seasons. The Midwest is just starting to catch on, and so far just in Michigan.
This season Crystal Mountain, Boyne Highlands and Timber Ridge Nordic Center in Traverse City, Mich., are offering fat tire bike rentals and groomed trails to ride on. Two of northern Michigan’s premier cross country trails, the Noquemanon, near Marquette, and VASA Pathway, near Traverse City, are also accommodating fat tire bikes on certain days of the week and specified trails.
“We found them to be very popular last year at Crystal Mountain, our first winter,” said Chris Remy, who oversees the program. “We often had a waiting list and have added more bikes for this winter and more sizes.”
Crystal has about 10 groomed miles of both cross-country and single-track trails for fat tire bikes. They rent for about $10 an hour, and you can ride them on portions of the cross-country trail until 10 p.m. nightly since it is lit for night skiing. At Timber Ridge, there’s about 10 kilometers of groomed trail available, and rental rates start around $25 that includes a Timber Ridge trail pass. The Highlands offers a five-mile groomed loop. A daily trail pass is $5, and bike rentals start at $30 for two hours.
The Noquemanon Trail Network plans to groom over 20 miles of single track this winter, and ask riders to support the project by purchasing a “Support the Groom” card.
TART Trails, which spearheads VASA Pathway grooming, is also asking riders to purchase a $25 grooming badge this winter. Fridays are being set aside as “Fat Tire Friday” when cyclists and skiers will mix on the 25 kilometer trail and bikes are allowed on TART’s Leelanau, from Traverse City up to Suttons Bay, anytime.
Other places you can ride in the UP: In the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan Tech has 15 kilometers of groomed ski trail and ungroomed single-track where bikes will be permitted, and Swedetown Trails will permit them after 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. Ishpeming’s Al Qual Recreation Area ski trails will also permit them anytime. A day pass is required for all three locations.
Photo: Fat tire (snow) biking at Crystal Mountain Resort (Crystal Mt.)