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  1. #1
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    XC-ski centres opening up to fatbikes...

    Nation's Largest XC Ski area opens to 'Fat Bikes' | Gear Review | Gear Junkie





    In a local context, Hardwood Hills will be allowing fatbikes out on some of their trails during their night skiing hours. Others will no doubt "jump on"
    https://picasaweb.google.com/113125576961447749127

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  2. #2
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    awesome!
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  3. #3
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    more reasons to buy one
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  4. #4
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    Wow, great pictures!
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  5. #5
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    Nice photos.

    Fat bike popularity surged last year in Ottawa. Lots were riding in South March Highlands.

    Bikes are still banned from Gatineau Park -- a XC skier paradise -- during the winter months. There are some snowshoe trails in the park that I think bikes and snowshoers could successfully share if the NCC ever gets past their "bikes = evil" mindset.

  6. #6
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    Gorgeous pics. i think it is great to see the popularity of this type bike surge.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Nice photos.

    Fat bike popularity surged last year in Ottawa. Lots were riding in South March Highlands.

    Bikes are still banned from Gatineau Park -- a XC skier paradise -- during the winter months. There are some snowshoe trails in the park that I think bikes and snowshoers could successfully share if the NCC ever gets past their "bikes = evil" mindset.
    Pity the NCC see it this way. They have so much land in and around the Ottawa area that it could make a huge difference in the riding destinations & bike tourism for the city.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by HubbaMan View Post
    Pity the NCC see it this way. They have so much land in and around the Ottawa area that it could make a huge difference in the riding destinations & bike tourism for the city.
    a fleet of fat tire bikes would make a great rental fleet as i've mentioned before.
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  9. #9
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    Fat bike popularity surged last year in Ottawa. Lots were riding in South March Highlands. Bikes are still banned from Gatineau Park -- a XC skier paradise -- during the winter months. There are some snowshoe trails in the park that I think bikes and snowshoers could successfully share if the NCC ever gets past their "bikes = evil" mindset
    Good to know... I was about to call NCC to ask whether they would officially accept fat bikes on groomed trails as the larger wheels float like any ski or snowshoe. Actually, I would think the footprint would cause less damage than some skis that carve in the surface and leave deep scars... But that is only an assumption
    I never stopped trying hard and I succeeded... some times.

  10. #10
    humber river advocate
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    Quote Originally Posted by HubbaMan View Post
    Pity the NCC see it this way. They have so much land in and around the Ottawa area that it could make a huge difference in the riding destinations & bike tourism for the city.
    there a few places that would work, i'm more tempted to buy a fat tire bike then cross country skis
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    Nice photos.

    Fat bike popularity surged last year in Ottawa. Lots were riding in South March Highlands.

    Bikes are still banned from Gatineau Park -- a XC skier paradise -- during the winter months. There are some snowshoe trails in the park that I think bikes and snowshoers could successfully share if the NCC ever gets past their "bikes = evil" mindset.
    Spoken like someone who doesn't XC ski. The bikes will wreck the tracks and make some areas unskiable especially after a good freezing rain, and then freeze again. I'm dreading skiing in areas that are not groomed like Hardwood everyday this year. Durham is going to not be fun at all.
    Last edited by Braids; 12-30-2012 at 07:42 PM. Reason: fixed missing "not"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    there a few places that would work, i'm more tempted to buy a fat tire bike then cross country skis
    Rentals would be an attractive option, I'm not interested in riding one only a handful of times for the $2k investment...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    Spoken like someone who doesn't XC ski. The bikes will wreck the tracks and make some areas unskiable especially after a good freezing rain, and then freeze again. I'm dreading skiing in areas that are groomed like Hardwood everyday this year. Durham is going to not be fun at all.
    AFAIK Hardwood will be only allowing fatbiking during night skiing hours and on a trial basis. Since they groom during the night the trails will be completely refreshed for the next day. The bikers should stay on the skate ski surface and not ride on the set tracks. When the skate surface is firmed up there will not be much if any imprint from a fat tire, and when it is very soft the imprint would not upset the stability of the ski. What I like about fatbiking is that it complements my skiing, great ski days with fresh snow are not the best for fatbiking and vice versa. There seem to be ski centres/clubs that have been doing this successfully in Minnesota/Idaho etc for some time and not just for night skiing.

    I would be surprised to be honest if fatbiking at ski centres becomes very popular any time soon, so you may be overly concerned! Maybe it's just where I live, but there are many other riding options for fatbiking that I prefer over the xc-ski centres. And I will continue to go to the ski centres mostly to ski, not to ride my fatbike.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/113125576961447749127

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  14. #14
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    winter biking is gaining in popularity, and is part of the discussion for trail development. the operational costs of a multi use trail that is not groomed for nordic i suspect is a lot less. thus an attractive alternative as a cost saving measure where such trails don't generate incomes. injury incidents rates would also be lower if the figures are still the same from the last time i've checked so there might be an insurance break (has to be reviewed)
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    Spoken like someone who doesn't XC ski. The bikes will wreck the tracks and make some areas unskiable especially after a good freezing rain, and then freeze again. I'm dreading skiing in areas that are groomed like Hardwood everyday this year. Durham is going to not be fun at all.
    I do XC ski. Classic, not skate, btw.

    I agree, bikes would mess up the classic tracks. This is why I suggested sharing the snowshoe trails.

  16. #16
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    @Menzo: get yourself out to South March Highlands in Kanata. Lots of fatbiking going on out there.

  17. #17
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    Okay, well that's in Washington (no offense BCD!). How about something relevant/local?

    TRCA jumping on the bandwagon???? I'd grab a Surly 1x1 and fatten that up no problem. I still wouldn't tread anywhere I see a skiier, but it'd make the single track a bit more fun i'm sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTO View Post
    I'd grab a Surly 1x1 and fatten that up no problem. I still wouldn't tread anywhere I see a skiier, but it'd make the single track a bit more fun i'm sure.
    After seeing Capt Sydor today seeming to have no problem on even the untracked stuf. I see one maybe is feasible in the future.. especially since the dirt bags at On One have one available cheap.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTO View Post
    Okay, well that's in Washington (no offense BCD!). How about something relevant/local?

    TRCA jumping on the bandwagon???? I'd grab a Surly 1x1 and fatten that up no problem. I still wouldn't tread anywhere I see a skiier, but it'd make the single track a bit more fun i'm sure.
    A multi use winter/summer biking trail as part of the Nashville tract trail plan is
    part of the discussion with the trca...
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanoeDog View Post
    AFAIK Hardwood will be only allowing fatbiking during night skiing hours and on a trial basis. Since they groom during the night the trails will be completely refreshed for the next day. The bikers should stay on the skate ski surface and not ride on the set tracks. When the skate surface is firmed up there will not be much if any imprint from a fat tire, and when it is very soft the imprint would not upset the stability of the ski. What I like about fatbiking is that it complements my skiing, great ski days with fresh snow are not the best for fatbiking and vice versa. There seem to be ski centres/clubs that have been doing this successfully in Minnesota/Idaho etc for some time and not just for night skiing.

    I would be surprised to be honest if fatbiking at ski centres becomes very popular any time soon, so you may be overly concerned! Maybe it's just where I live, but there are many other riding options for fatbiking that I prefer over the xc-ski centres. And I will continue to go to the ski centres mostly to ski, not to ride my fatbike.
    I meant to say "not groomed like hardwood." I missed the "not." The places I'm concerned about are places that are NOT groomed, like Durham, and Glen Majors/Walker Woods. I am very happy to report that biking is NOT one of the permitted winter activities at Glen Majors and Walker Woods according to signage posted at the bell tower entrance. Seeing that sign on Saturday made me so happy! I did not see signage at Durham, but I did see bikes in the parking lot. Durham XC trails are a mess because of all the dog walkers anyway, so no loss.

    With the crappy winters we have been getting in "southern" Ontario XC ski places will probably have to open up their trails to fat biking just to make a little bit of money. Does anybody know how many days Hardwood was open last year? I have no problem with it occurring on groomed trails because the damage will be repaired. I would prefer it didn't happen in non-groomed areas unless the fat bikers behave better than the snowshoers and equestrians.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post

    With the crappy winters we have been getting in "southern" Ontario XC ski places will probably have to open up their trails to fat biking just to make a little bit of money. Does anybody know how many days Hardwood was open last year? I have no problem with it occurring on groomed trails because the damage will be repaired. I would prefer it didn't happen in non-groomed areas unless the fat bikers behave better than the snowshoers and equestrians.
    You are aware you sound exactly like those who are against mountain bikes,

    Now I think I'll get a fat bike.. And ride in ungroomed places because obviously by telling everyone it is wrong it must be fun.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    I meant to say "not groomed like hardwood." I missed the "not." The places I'm concerned about are places that are NOT groomed, like Durham, and Glen Majors/Walker Woods. I am very happy to report that biking is NOT one of the permitted winter activities at Glen Majors and Walker Woods according to signage posted at the bell tower entrance. Seeing that sign on Saturday made me so happy! I did not see signage at Durham, but I did see bikes in the parking lot. Durham XC trails are a mess because of all the dog walkers anyway, so no loss.

    With the crappy winters we have been getting in "southern" Ontario XC ski places will probably have to open up their trails to fat biking just to make a little bit of money. Does anybody know how many days Hardwood was open last year? I have no problem with it occurring on groomed trails because the damage will be repaired. I would prefer it didn't happen in non-groomed areas unless the fat bikers behave better than the snowshoers and equestrians.
    I'm not sure what you mean by not groomed xc trails. If they are not groomed then are they really xc-ski trails? Or do you mean they are track set merely by people 'skiing-in" tracks?

    here are local Muskoka options
    a) xc-ski centres on private or park lands that groom & trackset and charge a fee. Owner/Operators disgression wether he will or won't allow fatbiking.

    b) public conservation areas that have groomed & trackset trails by a club or the municipality that are free or donation based, typically post signage requesting that none skiing public stay off the trails...but have no legal recourse to prevent this from happening...hence dogs, horses, cyclists.

    c) public multi-use trails & conservation areas that may or may not be groommed or trackset at all and are used by skiers, snowmobilers, snow shoers etc.

    I agree bikes have no place on a) and b) under normal (soft) snow conditions although in the case of b) unfortunately I don't know what can actually be done to prevent people from trashing these trails.

    However I consider c) to be wide open and these are the only types of trails that I fatbike on.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/113125576961447749127

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanoeDog View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by not groomed xc trails. If they are not groomed then are they really xc-ski trails? Or do you mean they are track set merely by people 'skiing-in" tracks?
    I mean track set by people merely skiing in them. I know you live up "north," so I don't know if you get the same problems that some of us get in the "south." I'm specifically talking about trails that are ruined after a freezing rain or warm weather that causes a bit of snow melt only to have it freeze again very quickly. The ski tracks are gone and you're basically just skiing on a three foot wide trail of ice now because the trail has been packed down by people walking on it.
    I don't like to ski on groomed trials because it's not as fun to me.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    You are aware you sound exactly like those who are against mountain bikes,

    Now I think I'll get a fat bike.. And ride in ungroomed places because obviously by telling everyone it is wrong it must be fun.
    You are aware you sound like one of those mountain bikers that get us banned from multi-use trails.

    Save your money and just walk on any track set you find. Remember to ignore the signs at the trail heads that politely ask you to be mindful of the ski tracks though.
    Actually, could you rent a horse and do it? I would love to see them and their droppings banned from multi-use trails in Ontario. The only thing worse than horse **** on your tires is frozen horse **** on your skis.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    I mean track set by people merely skiing in them. I know you live up "north," so I don't know if you get the same problems that some of us get in the "south." I'm specifically talking about trails that are ruined after a freezing rain or warm weather that causes a bit of snow melt only to have it freeze again very quickly. The ski tracks are gone and you're basically just skiing on a three foot wide trail of ice now because the trail has been packed down by people walking on it.
    I don't like to ski on groomed trials because it's not as fun to me.
    it's bad form to ride/walk in tracks that someone has been working on with their ski's all winter. palgrave is a great example
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    I mean track set by people merely skiing in them. I know you live up "north," so I don't know if you get the same problems that some of us get in the "south." I'm specifically talking about trails that are ruined after a freezing rain or warm weather that causes a bit of snow melt only to have it freeze again very quickly. The ski tracks are gone and you're basically just skiing on a three foot wide trail of ice now because the trail has been packed down by people walking on it.
    I don't like to ski on groomed trials because it's not as fun to me.
    See the problem with this view is one person happens to ski any trail that is never groomed. Then it becomes others wrecked tracks. Everyone is evil silliness. Does that mean when I got to ungroomed CB and ski today I should get upset about people walking on it later on in the day? Nope.

    Now in regards to fat bikes. Gee, all this sounds similar to a previous new thing on snow everyone got up in arms about. The snowboard. I recall when they came out how people went own about how they wrecked runs and anything else that could be thought of. Name calling and physical altercations. And the biggest bunch of jerks in it all? Skiers. So now we have fat bikes as the winter XC version of the snowboard. And it begins again now it's fat bikes that are the great evil.

    Yep, it's winter in Canada.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braids View Post
    I mean track set by people merely skiing in them. I know you live up "north," so I don't know if you get the same problems that some of us get in the "south." I'm specifically talking about trails that are ruined after a freezing rain or warm weather that causes a bit of snow melt only to have it freeze again very quickly. The ski tracks are gone and you're basically just skiing on a three foot wide trail of ice now because the trail has been packed down by people walking on it.
    I don't like to ski on groomed trials because it's not as fun to me.
    Reads like you are skiing a trail that falls into catagory c) as I outlined above. Since this seems to be an ungroomed multi-use trail system what I personally would do is ski it on the days when skiing is good, and also have a fatbike for all those other times as you described which make for lousy skiing anyway but are actually great for fatbiking!
    https://picasaweb.google.com/113125576961447749127

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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanoeDog View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by not groomed xc trails. If they are not groomed then are they really xc-ski trails? Or do you mean they are track set merely by people 'skiing-in" tracks?

    here are local Muskoka options
    a) xc-ski centres on private or park lands that groom & trackset and charge a fee. Owner/Operators disgression wether he will or won't allow fatbiking.

    b) public conservation areas that have groomed & trackset trails by a club or the municipality that are free or donation based, typically post signage requesting that none skiing public stay off the trails...but have no legal recourse to prevent this from happening...hence dogs, horses, cyclists.

    c) public multi-use trails & conservation areas that may or may not be groommed or trackset at all and are used by skiers, snowmobilers, snow shoers etc.

    I agree bikes have no place on a) and b) under normal (soft) snow conditions although in the case of b) unfortunately I don't know what can actually be done to prevent people from trashing these trails.

    However I consider c) to be wide open and these are the only types of trails that I fatbike on.
    you summed it up very well blackcanoedog...
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  29. #29
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    Hardwood Hills Facebook page has a pic of JHB, their 1st fatbiker after a ride on their trails.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardw...ke/47385438639

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merdoff View Post
    Hardwood Hills Facebook page has a pic of JHB, their 1st fatbiker after a ride on their trails.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hardw...ke/47385438639
    Cool!! Mer, was that a night ride or did they let him on during day hours?
    https://picasaweb.google.com/113125576961447749127

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanoeDog View Post
    Cool!! Mer, was that a night ride or did they let him on during day hours?
    John S invited him out to test a few of the trails. John & I are both going tomorrow late aft/early evening to test a few more trails. They're not officially open to the public (fatbikes) yet but will be shortly. I'll try to snap a few more shots on the trail and John S is taking his GoPro (he's taking our rental bike). Should be fun.

  32. #32
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    You couldn't ask for a better surface to ride a fatbike on. I was able to get into the highest gears on the bike and absolutely haul a$$. The handling was that of almost riding in the summer. The woodchip climb was actually easier & faster than in the summer. Their trying to figure out which trails will be open to fatbikes & should be disclosed soon. There will be a rental bike at HH's provided by the Bike Zone (medium 9 Zero 7).

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    sounds great

    from Hardwoods twitter today "-5 & snowing at 6 am Open til 8 for skiing & Fat Bikes tonight. 26 km packed & tracked. Trails will be snow covered with new snow falling"

    sounds like there open to fat bikes

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by swabag View Post
    sounds great

    from Hardwoods twitter today "-5 & snowing at 6 am Open til 8 for skiing & Fat Bikes tonight. 26 km packed & tracked. Trails will be snow covered with new snow falling"

    sounds like there open to fat bikes


    You're correct, their website also states effective today fatbikes are permitted but after 4pm, I assumed because the facebook page stated details to follow it wasn't firmed up yet. Great news!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Hair Boy View Post
    You couldn't ask for a better surface to ride a fatbike on. I was able to get into the highest gears on the bike and absolutely haul a$$. The handling was that of almost riding in the summer. The woodchip climb was actually easier & faster than in the summer. Their trying to figure out which trails will be open to fatbikes & should be disclosed soon. There will be a rental bike at HH's provided by the Bike Zone (medium 9 Zero 7).
    Were you riding in the space groomed for skating?
    Please enjoy seeing this terrible collection of me - something wonderful is about to happy.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage monster View Post
    Were you riding in the space groomed for skating?
    Yes, however, they are only allowing fatbikes from 4-8pm Monday through Friday. We were there last night and the conditions were perfect. Anyone living in the Simcoe county area, Rogers channel 10 took a small amount of footage which is airing tonight at 6:30pm channel 10 in Barrie.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Hair Boy View Post
    You couldn't ask for a better surface to ride a fatbike on. I was able to get into the highest gears on the bike and absolutely haul a$$.
    John, just wait until mid Feb and beyond when warmer daytime temperatures thaws the surface and then it refeezes and firms up again after the sun goes down. The only thing more fun than riding a fatbike on that is to skate ski on it!
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by garage monster View Post
    Were you riding in the space groomed for skating?
    They are asking that everyone stay on the skate surface and off the tracks for classic skiing which is easy as they are way over to the right hand side of the trail. They groom the trail every night so there is always a nice fresh surface. They said they will allow anyone with experience riding in snow on the snow shoe trails as well. I checked them out and most of it looks good with the exception of a few climbs that are probably to steep but they are short ones.

  39. #39
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    Well, it's not much to do with XC ski centres, but just to mix things up a bit I took this shot on Ft. Myers beach in Florida a couple of days ago. Not sure if one of the local shops had these as part of their rental fleet, or else if the riders owned the bikes. Guessing the former.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails XC-ski centres opening up to fatbikes...-flfatbikes.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Well, it's not much to do with XC ski centres, but just to mix things up a bit I took this shot on Ft. Myers beach in Florida a couple of days ago. Not sure if one of the local shops had these as part of their rental fleet, or else if the riders owned the bikes. Guessing the former.
    Hhhmmmmmm.....

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Well, it's not much to do with XC ski centres, but just to mix things up a bit I took this shot on Ft. Myers beach in Florida a couple of days ago. Not sure if one of the local shops had these as part of their rental fleet, or else if the riders owned the bikes. Guessing the former.
    I had just come in from an hour of snowshoeing through woodlands under the night sky, and saw this The stark contrast between my activity and this scene makes it very appealing
    https://picasaweb.google.com/113125576961447749127

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanoeDog View Post
    I had just come in from an hour of snowshoeing through woodlands under the night sky, and saw this The stark contrast between my activity and this scene makes it very appealing
    Variety is the spice of life!

  43. #43
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    It saddens me a bit to see classic skiing on the decline these days, had a lot of fun with it over the years. I still think Kolapore for example is better on skis than on a bike. When snowshoeing went big, the snowshoers would go there and trample down the 1st two or three km of trail, totally unaware that by design a snowshoe is a 'go-anywhere' thing that does not require a set trail in the first place! I get how fat bikes would be a good fit with a snowmobile float. With spring conditions can you really ride upon the crust without breaking though...? that would be cool.. however spring conditions were always my favourite for skiing too (klister!)

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay. View Post
    When snowshoeing went big, the snowshoers would go there and trample down the 1st two or three km of trail, totally unaware that by design a snowshoe is a 'go-anywhere' thing that does not require a set trail in the first place!
    It seems most snowshoes being sold these days aren't nearly wide or long enough for serious go anywhere use. The trend is towards shorter snowshoes that you run with on a trail.

    Are there signs at Kopalore indicating that the trail is ski-only, or asking other trail users to keep out of the classic tracks? I ask because I know as a classic skier that it's etiquette to not trample the trackset, but we shouldn't assume non-skiers know the etiquette.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay. View Post
    With spring conditions can you really ride upon the crust without breaking though...? that would be cool..
    OMG Yes!! We had about 3 consecutive weeks of 'Crust Riding" from mid Mar to early Apr in 2011. It was FABULOUS DARLING!!!








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  46. #46
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    BCD...

    Your pictures played a role in motivating me to get a fat bike this winter, and I can't overstate what a blast I'm having with it! Thanks for the great images!

    On the topic of fat bikes on the trails, I think it's not much different than the kind of common sense we should all be using when we ride in the summertime...let's try to have the least amount of impact on the other trail users as possible, and take care not to damage anything as much as we can help it.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pucker Factor View Post
    BCD...

    Your pictures played a role in motivating me to get a fat bike this winter, and I can't overstate what a blast I'm having with it! Thanks for the great images!

    On the topic of fat bikes on the trails, I think it's not much different than the kind of common sense we should all be using when we ride in the summertime...let's try to have the least amount of impact on the other trail users as possible, and take care not to damage anything as much as we can help it.
    Nice...thanks! I agree on the trails, and as one who also skis xc, I appreciate Kay's frustration but that is the reality of multi use trails. Those that love to ski typically frequent ski only facilities, often with considerable travel time. If one likes backcountry skiing and group travel, the Five Winds ski club is worth a look. The one thing impacting xc skiing most has been the milder winters with less snow here in the east.
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  48. #48
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    Fabulous photos as always, BCD. If I could give you more rep, I would.

  49. #49
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    CTV Barrie is going to be at Hardwood Hills tomorrow afternoon taking footage of the XC ski trails in addition to the introduction of fatbikes being permitted on the trails.

  50. #50
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    I just got back from the CTV session at Hard Wood and it was a great time. We even had an 84 year old woman take my bike for a short ride while wearing a mic so you can hear the excitement in her voice. I spoke on camera about fat bikes as did John from Hard Wood and Rob from The Bike Zone. It is really exciting to see how fast the interest in fat bikes is growing its like 29ers 8 to 10 years ago. I hope this test project works out well for Hard Wood so next year maybe we can have weekend access. The Segment is going to air during the 6:00 news tonight on CTV Barrie

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