The opportunity to ride fat bikes in Grand Teton National Park doesn’t present itself that often, so I jumped at this chance. Teton Mountain Bike Tours led a group ride in the National Park as part of the Fat Bike Summit. Local advocates are vying for more winter riding opportunities alongside snowmobiles in GTNP and in Yellowstone. But for now, fat bikes are limited to plowed roads that cars can drive on. So as far as riding goes right now, the terrain is nothing amazing – but you’re still in the Tetons, enveloped by some of the best eye candy that Mother Nature has ever created.
Unfortunately, during our ride, we we socked in with cloud cover, and the Tetons never poked out. About an hour after our ride, the sun broke through – check out the pic below that I pulled from the Fat-Bike.com article.
Anyway, after a while of riding in the park, we left the boundary and entered the Bridger-Teton National Forest, where we jumped on some snowmobile packed singletrack and rode through some beautiful Aspen groves. I learned that Aspen trees have a network of roots beneath the ground, connecting them all – hence being called a “grove”. This was some excellent riding, super stoked we added it on to the ride. Then it was back to the vans – slightly anti-climactic. The important thing is that we’re riding responsibly in the National Park. As Teton Mountain Bike Tours continues to give guided rides, and we prove that we can be a responsible user group, the chances of opening Yellowstone to bikes and increasing opportunities in parks around the country will open up.
Grand Targhee Resort
On our way back to Mammoth, we stopped at Grand Targhee. Man, I love this place!! A gorgeous drive over Teton Pass, through Victor, ID (stop at Fitzergald’s Bikes if you’re in the hood) and then back across the border to Alta, WY. The last time I snowboarded here was 5 years ago, after a 2′ dump of cold smoke pow pow. I lapped it all day grinning from ear to ear until my quads burned and melted into my bone marrow. This time, it hadn’t snowed in a week, and wasn’t as enticing as riding the fat bike at the nordic center. So I left Jen and Dan in the parking lot as they readied to go skiing, and made my way to the ticket window. $10 for a nordic pass, and I was on my way!
Four years ago, Grand Targhee became the first nordic center to welcome fat bikes. With all the skeptics, it really took some balls to give it a shot. Luckily, GT has Andy Williams at the forefront. In addition to the marvelous Rick’s Basin Loop and Quakie Ridge Loop, they recently started grooming fat bike specific singletrack, called the Jolly Green Giant Trails.
Between the Jolly Green Giant trails and the traditional nordic loops, a fat biker can bang out a sweet 10 mile ride that’s the perfect balance of slithering singletrack through trees and forests and wide open corduroy with expansive views and tranquility. Definitely a must do if you’re in the area, and Grand Targhee is the perfect model for all other nordic centers around the country/world. It’s proof that fat bikes can live in harmony with cross country skiers. Now if only Tamarack in Mammoth would open it’s doors to fat bikes, right?