Mountain biking in the snow? What an extreme adventure and absolute fun!
I love the idea of floating on the snow while pedaling on the MTB and have experienced this jolt for more than 15 years.
During snowfall, people think of different activities and games they can do, such as hiking, snowboarding, and many more. As a mountain biker, I have also tried many, but winter mountain biking is a thrilling adventure you must experience.
There are different types of mountain bike world championships, including cross country, downhill, and four-cross. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which regulates world cycling, organizes these events.
Throughout this article, I explain why I love it and why you should too.
Can I Ride My Mountain Bike in Snow?
Sure, you can. Everyone can hit the snowy trails if willing to do—all you need to take some extra precautions that must be followed throughout the ride.
Once you have learned a few tricks and techniques to control and handle your mountain bike on snowy trails, you are ready to go off-road.
To beat the snow, you must be honest about your skills; either you are an expert or not. Make sure you know the ice in your way and what equipment you’ll need while riding on snow.
If you plan on riding your bike, the snow condition should be suitable. In the case of firm snow, even novices can easily initiate the ride. It is rare to get stuck or slip, but they are not absent.
Anyway, snowy conditions pose another reason to love mountain biking throughout the year.
What Exactly is Exciting about Mountain Biking in Snow?
The following are some of the charms I have enjoyed over the years:
1. Snow Drifts
Being a biker, drifting in the snow is a white-hat crime. 😎
Snow that is still fresh is rusty and extremely slippery, especially on straight lines; this gives riders incredible traction (especially for donuts drifting).
- Make sure you have a bike with wide & knobby tires.
- Keep your seat low so you can use your feet as training wheels and keep the rubber side down.
- You should stay focused on the road to get home safely.
Since you have to make an extreme drift while tackling the corners, it can be done at a relaxed pace.
2. Exploring New Trails
By riding the same boring trails every day, biking can lose its charm. Right?
Enjoy some exciting but challenging trails in the snow. I’ve experienced this numerous times, even with the same boring tracks covered in snow.
The road becomes foggy with snow while you’re heading along with it, and you have no idea where to go next; this will add up to your expertise.
3. Fat Biking
There is not much fat biking on regular trails; frankly, you don’t need it on a typical track since it only adds pressure.
It is extremely fun to ride a fat-tire bike in the mountains. In the winter, I switch to fat biking, as the big wheels provide better traction on snowy trails.
Mountain biking in snow with the wide and knobby tires make it sit on snow even if it is deep, so it is hard to get stuck. Once you’ve tried fat biking in the snow, you’ll find even fat bike tracks exciting.
4. Next-level Fun
Something exciting, hands-on! Snow biking gives you all the good and adventurous vibes of doing something new and challenging. The feeling of accomplishment (like a drifting donut) after achieving your goal will leave you speechless.
After the great effort, you will be excited for the next turn of this type-2 kind of fun on snow-covered trails.
5. Dashing Wearables
I love to dress up in all-new clothes and safety gear to hit the snowy trails. Make a smart choice, but avoid overloading yourself with too many smart wearables.
When it’s cold, I wear tights and baggy shorts, and on the shoulder, a half-sleeve jacket keeps me warm.
These are all the reasons that make me want to go mountain biking in snow.
What do you Wear Mountain Biking in Snow?
Most people hear about protective gear when it comes to motorbike racing and car racing, but mountain biking in snow or (any other season) also requires complete safety (whether done on a mountain or not). Apart from other things to wear, the following are the essentials gears you must carry in snow biking:
1. Waterproof Boots
Winter riding boots are specialized for use in the snow; they will keep you from sticking. Additionally, you can use hiking boots or waterproof boots, but these are not designed specifically for use in snowy weather.
2. Waterproof Gloves
Mountain biking in snow requires suitable gloves that are waterproof and insulated. It will help you keep your hands warm, maintain blood circulation, and maintain control of the handlebars.
3. Cycling Pogies
Cycling pogies are best for longer rides; when attached to your handlebars, these create a great enclosure around your hands. You need lightweight gloves to be able to move your hands quickly and easily when using cycling pogies.
While biking, head protection is the most important thing, so don’t overlook the importance of it. Your head is kept warm, your ears are covered, and blood is circulated to ensure you stay active.
A specialized cycling helmet should be used instead of a normal bike helmet.
5. Waterproof Pants or Shorts
6. Waterproof Socks
In addition to waterproof boots, socks with an internal layer will prevent water or snow from dripping in.
7. Knee Warmers
Snow mountain biking requires you to keep your muscles and joints warm. I often wear full-lengths when it’s cold outside. You may choose waterproof, three-quarter, standard, or even roadie-style knee warmers, depending upon the temperatures and conditions of the snow.
8. Base Layer
Baselayers with long sleeves can keep you warm and comfortable during extreme weather conditions. Many options are available on the market, ranging from man-made to treated polyester, and natural wool such as Merino.
Depending on your body, you can choose any. Wool, however, is not recommended because once wet it is very difficult to dry.
For mountain biking in the snow, I recommend a dropped tail, high neck, and long sleeves waterproof jacket. Hoods are helpful but can be cumbersome if they don’t stow away.
10. Other Things Based on Requirement
Depending on how cold it is outside, your body type, and the nature of the snow, you can use gilets, neck tubes, glasses, etc.
Other Technical Tips
Here are some useful tips that may help you enjoy a more exciting ride during the snowy season if you have been biking on mountain bike trails like in Alabama.
1. Adjust Tire Pressure
Better traction with less pressure!
Especially in the snow, tire pressure is key to gaining traction. The low-pressure gauge is ideal for fat bikes. Typically, fat bikes run on relatively low tire pressure, like 5 PSI. As a result, the tire can contact the ground easier with more width.
2. Use Flat Pedals
If you slip and your feet get stuck in the snow, you will have a hard time getting back on your pedals. The flat pedals, however, save you from such a hard situation.
Flat pedals are surprisingly more helpful in climbing, and I feel faster with these pedals.
Initially, 2-3 rides with flat pedals might seem strange, and you may feel unbalanced, but you’ll get used to it after 2-3 rides.
3. Sliding is Normal
Sliding is inevitable in all biking sports, and everyone slides at some point. If you are a beginner, you may find it annoying, but getting to know the time will help you overcome it.
Most trails are curved from the edges, and when you go higher, you feel sliding, and curves try to push you into the middle of the trail.
When you look ahead, you will have a better balance.
4. Always Stay Seated
The back wheel of the fat bike needs weight to sustain and retain traction, so sit while riding. You can pedal hard if it is a quick jump, but keep your weight on the back wheel while climbing.
5. Don’t Hammer
You will lose control and traction if you commonly use a hammer while riding. Instead, keep your pedals rotating steadily and consistently so that the rotation of your pedals is also stable.
6. Stay Hydrated
You can get frostbite if you don’t keep hydrated. Fill up your water bottle with hot water before you go riding.
7. Ride-on Packed Snow
The experience of riding in packed snow is similar to riding in the dirt (but it is a lot more slippery). If the trail is packed with snow, ride on a wide one.
8. Clumpy and Slushy Snow
9. Ride-on Frozen Ground
If the snow thaws and gets wet, the trail could become muddy quickly. Ride early in the morning to avoid creating ruts in the mud. Ice crystals on dirt create a rough surface.
10. Ride-on Ice
Biking on ice can be tricky and dangerous; you can quickly lose traction. Even so, if you are about to ride on the ice, you should consider a studded tire to maintain balance.
11. Ride-on Crusty Snow
It will not be a problem to ride the next day if the snow gets melted during the day but gets crusty and hardens over the night.
However, if the crust is not thick enough, it can bust at any time, and you can go over bars.
Any Snow Mountain Bike recommendations?
Many MTB manufactures are available in the market that provides excellent quality in terms of material and ease of use. Among other types, they manufacture regular MTBs, racing bikes as well as fat-tire mountain bikes.
In terms of biking in the snow, Novara Ponderosa Mountain Bike, Mongoose Malus, Mongoose Dolomite, and Yeti Bicycles 575 x01 are a few of the featured models that come under 1000 dollars budget.
But as an enthusiast mountain biker, my vote goes for Mongoose Malus and Mongoose Dolomite; these bikes are fat-tire bikes with great tire width and excellent features.
You can also check these options under 500 if you are too low with the budget.
What year did mountain biking in snow begin?
In the late 1800s, people began to pursue it as a sport. But it is still unknown when it first started in snow as an adventure sport.
How hard is mountain biking in the snow?
Cycling can be challenging if you are not used to the cold and challenging conditions. In the end, the best venture you have ever undertaken will be mountain biking in the snow if you are adventurous enough to do it many times.
What temperature is too cold for mountain biking?
Why do Mountain Bikers Wear Long Socks?
Long socks are worn by mountain bikers to protect themselves from ticks and poison ivy. Shoes and socks are protected against sand and pebbles getting into them, and sweat is kept from getting into them.
Why do Mountain Bikers Wear Beggy Shorts?
Baggy shorts are preferred by mountain bikers because they offer a greater range of motion. Furthermore, they are more comfortable than Lycra; they are abrasion-resistant, have extra pockets, look better, and remain warm in cold temperatures.
Due to severe weather conditions and too much snow, winter is usually considered the time to take a break from biking. Mountain biking in snow is fun, a lot of fun, and can make you addicted to this activity.
All you have to do is follow all the simple rules and take safety gear to make it as adventurous and safe as possible for you. You can either ride normal mountain bikes or fat bikes, learn how to float on snow, and have every new experience even on 100-times-trodden trails.
How do you enjoy the snowy outdoor?