One of the biggest problems with Electric Fatbiking is deep snow. Too often your bike will dig in and down into the powder and you are stuck trying to wedge your bike out of the snow to get going again. When you are cruising fast and the front wheel slips off the trail and into the deep powder it is not uncommon to flip over the handlebars and do a nasty faceplant. The problem is compounded when you are riding on XC ski trails which tend to be quite narrow and leave little room for error.
The best singletrack trail riding I’ve found is on snowshoe trails. They tend to be a lot wider, smoother and packed down better. You can wander around the woods looking for snowshoe trails or you can do what I do and just make your own.
I bought a higher-end pair of snowshoes ($190 retail) from sierratradingpost.com for about $105 with tax and shipping as shown here. Although they are listed for $145 the site often has discount coupon codes and discounts if you sign up for their deal flier emails. Also if you add something to your cart, login and then don’t order it they will send you an email with even more discounts to get you to try to finish up your order. I buy a lot of gear from them and their ‘no-questions asked’ return policy is the best in the business.
When shopping for snowshoes don’t buy the cheapest ones you can find, but do buy the biggest ones you can find. When it comes to grooming your own trails nothing beats surface area. At 6’10” with a 42″ inseam I can easily pack down a trail with 36″ snowshoes if I hike the trail one way, then turn around and hike back on the same trail stepping in the empty spaces between my footprints on the way back. If you are shorter you can probably get away with 32″ or even 30″ shoes, but bigger is better so don’t go smaller than 30″.
When you hike pretend you are a monster from ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ and stomp down each step. This will give the snow maximum compression and lessen your chances of breaking through when riding your bike. Temperature is incredibly important for trail making and grooming. The best time to pack the trail is when it is above freezing, the best time to ride the trails is when it is as cold as possible. I usually ride first thing in the morning before I eat breakfast as that is when the snow is the firmest.
The best trails to make are ones that are snowmobile trails to get uphill and then snowshoe trails on the downhill. It’s much more fun riding through the snow downhill where you can use less power and more pedaling and you want the uphill sections to be as low-friction as possible (packed down, no powder).
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