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  1. #1
    web-footed pedaler
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    Vermont winter riding

    Now that we're deep into autumn and winter is growing closer, I'm starting to think more about my fatbike and riding on snow. Right now, I know of a few places that formally allow fatbike snow riding: Kingdom Trails, Millstone, and I think Trapps was dabbling with it last winter. Are there others?

  2. #2
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    No promises yet, but I want to get some trails packed in with snowshoes for that purpose this winter. Mountain biking is allowed all winter regardless. I'll keep the GMT FB page updated with info when the time comes.

  3. #3
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    Trapp's had a one day fat bike event, but riding the trails when there is snow & skiing is not allowed.

  4. #4
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    There are lots of non-resort type places to ride. In the past few years, I've ridden on trails in hinesburg and Burlington area. Don't know if its officially allowed but there were not many tracks in the snow, this year and in coming years I'm betting I'll see a lot more people out on fatties so the rules may change. I think as long as you're not trashing cross country ski trails most people are OK with it.

    Could try the stowe town loops, or any snowmobile trails really.

    Zaab - riding from the hut to the bottom in winter sounds like a dream come true!

  5. #5
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    Don't forget the VAST trails! Seriously, snowmobiles can be a bit obnoxious at times (noise and exhaust), but they pack down thousands of miles of trail across the state. True, many snowmobile trails can be like moto trails, with no concern for steep climbs and whatnot, but some of them would make awesome fatbike terrain. Probably a good idea to wear some high-vis clothes, because those guys fly sometimes!
    I cross-country ski quite a lot in the Stowe area, though never at the resorts. I have only very rarely come across fatbike tracks while I'm out there, and I've never actually seen someone riding one while I'm out. There could be folks riding the VAST trails and their tracks get covered, but I don't know. If I could afford a fatbike, I would probably hang up my XC skis.
    There have been a few threads about winter trail etiquette, so keep that in mind before you head out.
    In Stowe, some places off the top of my head that would be fatbike friendly without any special permission, and not much snowmobile traffic:
    Rec Path - They often keep the lower half plowed for walkers, but the upper half (from 108 up) is often groomed. Grooming is pretty silly though, because it gets so much foot traffic, it's like skiing/riding on cobbles. That's only about 2.5 miles (one way) of flat terrain, but it's pretty.
    Smuggler's Notch Rd - Gate at the bottom is closed in winter, so the road becomes a ski trail. Definitely steep towards the top, but could make a fun ride out of it.
    Cotton Brook - Snowmobiles use it in winter, but it seems like the only ones that do are on guided tours, so they're in tight groups and moving slow. Once the smoke clears, it's great. I also ski out onto the reservoir quite a bit (doesn't seem like many other folks do), so sometimes there are tracks out there too. Out there, the snow is often quite firm, since it gets a lot of wind compacting and drifting it.

    But overall, there doesn't seem to be many people out there on bikes in winter. The fanatical cyclists of summer turn into fanatical skiers. Tough problem to have eh?

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    I'm going to revamp the signage this winter, Matt, so I'll strap on some snowshoes and see how much trail I can groom as well. I saw one hardy soul last winter riding from the bottom to the top on regular tires. Took me aback for a second but it was great to see.

  7. #7
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    I've fatbiked both the Cotton Brook area and the trailsover in Little River Park. The riding is great, in LR there are often sled dogs going out on tours, while Cotton Brook does have the snowmobile tours. But the riding is good and the trails packed.

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    Well, if you ever see a giant dude flailing around on XC skis at Cotton Brook, that's probably me. I'll probably ask to borrow your bike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by willapajames View Post
    Well, if you ever see a giant dude flailing around on XC skis at Cotton Brook, that's probably me. I'll probably ask to borrow your bike.
    I'll keep an eye out for ya. Perhaps I'll have a warming beverage along to share ;-)

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    If Norwich fires up their groomer this year....green an yellow trails will be 50 inc wide corderoy. As well as the work road up top. If that happens grooming out orange with snowshies would be easy.....

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    We at the Old Spokes Home up in Burlington are going to have a demo fleet of Mukluks and maybe a Pugs or two available at Catamount Outdoor Center in Williston. They have assured us that there will be bike access to their trails, conditions permitting (still havent worked out what that looks like to keep the skate skiiers happy, how soft is too soft?). We are also hoping to keep Wednesday night a race/group ride night out there, as they do with mtb and cross during the summer and fall. Keep an eye out for Wednesday night snow bike races and much more!

  12. #12
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    Saw a moonlander at the hardware store in Stowe today. Makes me want one more than ever...

  13. #13
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    Vermont winter riding

    Went skiing today. Make hay while the sun shines, or something like that.

  14. #14
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    F that. I went riding yesterday in the rain and snow.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rednblackbike View Post
    We at the Old Spokes Home up in Burlington are going to have a demo fleet of Mukluks and maybe a Pugs or two available at Catamount Outdoor Center in Williston. They have assured us that there will be bike access to their trails, conditions permitting (still havent worked out what that looks like to keep the skate skiiers happy, how soft is too soft?). We are also hoping to keep Wednesday night a race/group ride night out there, as they do with mtb and cross during the summer and fall. Keep an eye out for Wednesday night snow bike races and much more!
    can't wait for this!!!

  16. #16
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    ride up to the notch...

    on top by mbeganyi, on Flickr


    and working out a vast / catamount connection from west bolton to little river


    bolton valley by mbeganyi, on Flickr

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    I've often thought about a connection between the high point on the Cotton Brook climb and Bolton. Seems like there'd be some serious hike-a-bike to get up over the ridge, but could make for an epic loop someday. Then again, I have no idea what I'd find on the Bolton side of the ridge...

  18. #18
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    damn, thats a lot of snow
    spoke to someone at CircumBurke yesterday who had skiied Jay on Saturday. It's coming...

  19. #19
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    trail was actually very rideable and packed in.... i tossed the bike into the drift to get a pic with bolton in the background.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by willapajames View Post
    I've often thought about a connection between the high point on the Cotton Brook climb and Bolton. Seems like there'd be some serious hike-a-bike to get up over the ridge, but could make for an epic loop someday. Then again, I have no idea what I'd find on the Bolton side of the ridge...
    you and i have similar thoughts. skiers come down into cotton brook.
    either that, or woodward mountain trail? there is some vast stuff up in there.


    i did a yo yo ride last winter - up to the western ridge above the sugar house on bolton access road, then back down, and started up the catamount trail... 24-MAR-13 112545 AM - Bolton, VT

    you can connect from west bolton, as i've started up the vast / ski / hike trail (some on state land, i believe), just south of the quarry on notch road.

    IMG_2091 by mbeganyi, on Flickr


    Missing Link by mbeganyi, on Flickr


    then you can head down to the bolton access road and follow catamount / vast over to pineo brook road (where catamount trail turns west to bolton).

    Vermont winter riding-screen-shot-2013-10-28-2.10.36-pm.jpg

    Vermont winter riding-screen-shot-2013-10-28-2.21.35-pm.jpg


    would also love to see cotton brook connector built for getting from little river up into cotton brook / stowe.
    i've come in from stowe to little river campground on some late season overnights. really like it up in there.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    ride up to the notch...
    Great! Now I'm really starting to get the itch to get the fat bike out on some snow.
    When was this?

  22. #22
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    last march...

  23. #23
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    Some pictures from last year riding from Hinesburg Town Forest through Carse and up into Camels Hump park in Huntington






  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    would also love to see cotton brook connector built for getting from little river up into cotton brook / stowe.
    i've come in from stowe to little river campground on some late season overnights. really like it up in there.
    There are actually a couple trails that supposedly connect the two. One is hiking-only and is clearly marked as such. That trail takes off from the end of the Cotton Brook fire-road. Also, higher up towards the ridge, there is a sled-dog trail that almost certainly connects the two. I never make it out that far on skis in winter (way too much climbing for me), and I've only explored it a little ways on bike in the summer. But, I did get to a point where it was heading downhill in the right direction (back down toward the reservoir). It definitely seemed like it got little to no use in summer as it was quite soft, but I bet it's got potential.
    As for the up and over from there to Bolton, who knows? There are some places high up on the Cotton Brook climb where a few side trails take off and follow the brook uphill, but I've never checked to see how far they go. Didn't have much of a chance this summer for exploring. Maybe I should take a weekend next summer and try to link something up. Would help if I had a GPS...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by willapajames View Post
    There are actually a couple trails that supposedly connect the two. One is hiking-only and is clearly marked as such. That trail takes off from the end of the Cotton Brook fire-road. Also, higher up towards the ridge, there is a sled-dog trail that almost certainly connects the two. I never make it out that far on skis in winter (way too much climbing for me), and I've only explored it a little ways on bike in the summer. But, I did get to a point where it was heading downhill in the right direction (back down toward the reservoir). It definitely seemed like it got little to no use in summer as it was quite soft, but I bet it's got potential.
    As for the up and over from there to Bolton, who knows? There are some places high up on the Cotton Brook climb where a few side trails take off and follow the brook uphill, but I've never checked to see how far they go. Didn't have much of a chance this summer for exploring. Maybe I should take a weekend next summer and try to link something up. Would help if I had a GPS...

    I've made that connection a couple of times. Bike and ski. Bike in the dark on this trip:

    Fall Bikepacking littlecircles

    The sleds do get in there!


    sled dogs by mbeganyi, on Flickr

    Up and over the ridge you'd be talking more Bolton Trapps kind of thing.

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