Winter roadtrip idea help?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Winter roadtrip idea help?

    I was born and raised in Michigan. Currently live in CO. My wife and I are going to do a ~12 day roadtrip back to Michigan over Xmas/New Years this year. We're looking for ideas on places to ride along the way.

    Space in the car will be limited, thus we'll only be bringing one bike each -- a fatbike. We're seeking out good snow riding in SD, NE, MN, WI, and the UP.

    No thanks on gravel grinders -- looking for fun singletrack. We've only got 12 days, and probably won't be able to ride all 12 due to family obligations and drive time. Thus we'd like to cram as many quality singletrack rides in as we can.

    Have an idea? We'd love to hear it.

    Thanks,

    MC

  2. #2
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    I think you should hit Cuyuna Lakes in Minnesota then Duluth. From there I would checkout Hayward, WI and then go to Copper Harbor/Marquette.

  3. #3
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    Saw this in the other thread, but Voghan reminded me that Spirit Mountain in Duluth is the first and only (according to my LBS) to allow downhill fat biking on three of their slopes. Sounds awesome and the chairlifts are retrofitted to carry your bike back up:

    https://www.spiritmt.com/fat-biking

    Check it out and if anyone has done this you gotta let me know how it was!!
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  4. #4
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    Duluth has some great single track options as well, pushing 100 miles of single track. It just depends on the conditions. It has been pretty icy (studs only) so far this year, but when the snow comes a bunch of it gets groomed. Mission Creek is a jewel.

    http://www.coggs.com

    Good luck on your journey.

  5. #5
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    Hopefully we start getting some snow....enough to groom. The options you've been presented already are definitely the cream of the crop for winter fatbiking in Minnesota; but if your route takes you through southern Minnesota on the way, Mankato has some fun hand-built singletrack that is groomed year round.

    Another couple from Colorado passed through last year on their way to the UP of Michigan and left our club some very gracious comments about the fun and flow we have...which we took as high praise considering where they live and ride and where they were heading for more riding.

    https://www.trailforks.com/region/ki...creation-area/

    Winter roadtrip idea help?-kiwanis-winter.jpg

  6. #6
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    Cuyuna has no snow, don’t know about Duluth. Typically, the Cuyuna singlegrack trails are all open until they have enough snow that they can start grooming the Fatbike trails, but the current weather in the 40’s creates enough freeze/thaw that the trails are too soft to ride without damaging them, so they are currently closed. They’ll reopen if and when the temps get cold enough for the ground to stay frozen. We tried to ride last Sunday but ended up bailing off the trails and taking the fire roads and paved biking trail back the parking lot. Unusual for Cuyuna to close because of weather, but there’s just too much damage with these current freeze/thaw cycles.

  7. #7
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    Not sure how your route is going to go but both MPLS and Madison groom trails for fat biking. I'm in Madison, but we don't have snow and nothing in the extended forecast beyond flurries. If you take a southern route (doesn't sound like you are) you can probably ride Switchgrass in KS and Swope in KC on fat bikes (but not the snowbiking variety.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuyuna View Post
    Cuyuna has no snow, don’t know about Duluth. Typically, the Cuyuna singlegrack trails are all open until they have enough snow that they can start grooming the Fatbike trails, but the current weather in the 40’s creates enough freeze/thaw that the trails are too soft to ride without damaging them, so they are currently closed. They’ll reopen if and when the temps get cold enough for the ground to stay frozen. We tried to ride last Sunday but ended up bailing off the trails and taking the fire roads and paved biking trail back the parking lot. Unusual for Cuyuna to close because of weather, but there’s just too much damage with these current freeze/thaw cycles.
    By Christmas I'm hoping we are no longer in this freeze/thaw cycle.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT Fatty View Post
    Not sure how your route is going to go but both MPLS and Madison groom trails for fat biking. I'm in Madison, but we don't have snow and nothing in the extended forecast beyond flurries. If you take a southern route (doesn't sound like you are) you can probably ride Switchgrass in KS and Swope in KC on fat bikes (but not the snowbiking variety.)

    Cold and snowy in Madtown yet?

  10. #10
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    Not yet. Still nothing beyond flurries in the forecast and I believe it is supposed to be closeto 40 degrees the rest of the weekend/early next week.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Cold and snowy in Madtown yet?
    If you go by or stop in Madison a message on the Home Page - madcitydirt.com site (IMBA chapter, digger posse) will get you a guide.

    The RealEarth app and web site from University Of WI has a snow cover layer.

    Friends and associates in Marquette made it look like snow and grooming is happening. I think the RAMBA club posted 20 mi of trail groomed or stomped already. Marquette and Duluth are both great places.
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  12. #12
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    I haven't had the Fat Bike up in these areas yet, but I used to head up to Northeast Minnesota and the UP of Mich quite a bit for XC skiing so I can speak a bit to the snow this time of year. In the UP especially, you should have a real good chance for snow anywhere along Lake Superior (not necessarily right along the lake, but starting a few miles inland). The problem in December is sometimes getting too much snow too quick. This can limit you to places that are very frequently groomed, and even then it can be hard to keep ahead of the snow. I'd suggest mapping out a bunch of possibilities, then check weather conditions before you leave and make final decisions.
    I would always bring my snow shoes along just in case the snow was too soft and deep for skis (same would be true for fat biking). There are quite a few waterfalls you can get to on snow shoes in the UP and Northeast Mn, and they can be amazing when the snow is fresh and deep.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Cold and snowy in Madtown yet?
    Not yet; but they are saying if this system stays on track, Thursday [Dec 21st] into Friday we are to get plowable quantities of snow.

    Winter roadtrip idea help?-weather.jpg

  14. #14
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    This may be a "doh!" comment, but wherever you go, make sure it's open. Places have a web presence and they are mostly good in letting you know if trails are closed for whatever reason.

    It sounds like the CAMBA trails are setting up. Lookup up CAMBA-Fat Bike on FB.
    Remember, nobody knows. So let's find out...

  15. #15
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    In SD - Spearfish and Rapid City have good groomed trails. Just hit up a local shop to find the best conditions and routes. I would recommend Rushmore Mountain Sports in Spearfish.
    In MN - Cuyuna (Crosby, MN area) is the place to go. They have quite a few trails that are groomed and are pretty fun. If it is on the way, Maplelag resort is also a good option for groomed trails. You might need to check with them beforehand for conditions and open trails. They do a lot of cross country ski camps in the winter that use some of the same trails.

  16. #16
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    Man, I'm so bummed i missed this thread when it was new. Mike C, I've been reading your writing for years now, I'd have jumped at the opportunity to show you some of the local trails.

    I hope you found your way to Levis Trow, Marquette, CAMBA trails and other places not mentioned in this thread so far. If not, maybe next time.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473 View Post
    Man, I'm so bummed i missed this thread when it was new. Mike C, I've been reading your writing for years now, I'd have jumped at the opportunity to show you some of the local trails.

    I hope you found your way to Levis Trow, Marquette, CAMBA trails and other places not mentioned in this thread so far. If not, maybe next time.

    I've ridden Levis/Trow and Camba many times in the past, but not on this trip.

    We did hit Marquette on this trip. Full TR from the trip here:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/wild-hair-1065951.html

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