Fat Bikes and Trail Access

Presenters: Gary Sjoquist, QBP/Salsa; Andy Williams, Grand Targhee Resort; Candy Fletcher, Marquette County Convention and Visitors Bureau Recreation Marketing Director

Overview: Considered a fad just a few years ago, fat bikes have emerged as a meaningful trend in bicycling with application to winter sports, sand sports and backcountry travel. The go-everywhere capability of fat bikes has inspired discussions about how to best manage their use at Nordic facilities, multi-use trails and public beaches.

Conclusions: Fat biking is energizing for mountain bike groups located in places where opportunities for summer trail development have flattened. Rather than splintering into separate user groups it is desirable for summer and winter riders to work together. Trails built and groomed just for fat biking have great potential. The Global Fat Bike Summit in Jackson, Wyoming, this winter (Jan. 23-25, fatbikesummit.com) will provide continued opportunities for discussion.

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4th Annual Global Fat Bike Summit and Festival Takes Place Jan. 23 – 25 at Snow King Resort, Jackson, WY. http://fatbikesummit.com/

QBP, along with Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, Hoback Sports, Wyoming Pathways, and Mountain Bike the Tetons/IMBA, are excited to announce the 4th annual Global Fat Bike Summit and Festival will be at the Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming January 23-25, 2015.

This unique event combines a fat bike summit training conference for land managers and advocates, along with a fun fat bike festival over the weekend that features fat bike demos, clinics, latest product displays, and fat bike races.

The Friday summit will focus on training sessions and panel discussions featuring the latest in the evolving world of best management practices for fat bike use on public lands. Management practices will be discussed with a focus on winter use since the majority of access issues fall in the winter months. This interactive training day will include land managers from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and state and local governments, along with bike advocates and industry representatives.

The festival portion of the event begins Friday night with a fat bike night ride and evening banquet, and continues through Saturday and Sunday with a variety of demo rides, product clinics, and riding events that include an optional guided fat bike tour of Grand Teton National Park.

“Our goal with the Summit/Festival is twofold,” said QBP’s Advocacy Director Gary Sjoquist. “First, we seek to spread best practices in terms of where fat bikes are ridden, how technology continues to shape fat bikes, the latest snow grooming techniques for fat bike singletrack, and just plain have fun with these big tire bikes. Second, we continue to seek winter access for fat bikes to national parks where they are largely prohibited, and to help all land managers with the latest tools that will help them offer more fat bike access to the public.”

While QBP’s brands Salsa, Surly, Whisky Parts, and 45Nrth will be title sponsors, the event will seek additional brand sponsors to allow attendees to try different products and talk with product reps. Trek will have fat bikes on hand, and Specialized, 907, Borealis and other manufacturers are being solicited to attend. Parts and apparel companies are invited to attend and display product as well.

“For the 4th year in a row, The Fat Bike Summit will bring together bicycle industry experts, key land managers and advocates to talk about the importance of fat bikes to local communities and public lands,” said Scott Fitzgerald, owner of Fitzgerald’s Bicycles. “Now that fat bikes have grown from what many people thought was a fad to a significant summer and winter user group, it is more important than ever to communicate current land management best practices as they relate to fat bike use.”

“Our approach here is a ‘big tent’ for all,” said Sjoquist. “Fat bikes are not a fad – nearly every manufacturer at the recent Interbike trade show featured fat bikes. Growth will continue and access issues will develop, particularly in the Nordic and snow machine trail networks, so we want to address this head-on and help land managers proactively adapt to this new use. We’d like to offer the opportunity for all manufacturers to participate in our Summit and Festival,” he said.

The Fat Bike Summit and Festival registration will also include discounted lodging options at Snow King Resort in Jackson and special skiing discounts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

“This is an exceptional venue for land managers to gather the latest information on Fat Bikes and to meet with advocates and fat bike users,” said Tim Young, Executive Director of Wyoming Pathways.

Updates regarding the 4th Annual Global Fat Bike Summit and Festival agenda and riding events will be found at http://www.fatbikesummit.com. Manufacturers or companies wishing for more information about the Summit and Festival should contact Gary Sjoquist (gsjoquis [at] qbp [dot] com).

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