Good snowpack and cold temperatures this winter have set up ideal conditions for fat-tire snow biking in the Boggy Draw area.
But none of it would be possible without the dedicated volunteer groomers who lay down and maintain the 30-inch wide track on about 10 miles of looping trails.
In appreciation of their efforts, the Southwest Colorado Cycling Association is hosting the annual Boggy Draw Groomer Gathering on Jan. 20 at 9 a.m. at the Boggy Draw Trailhead.
There will be “no drop” group rides for all abilities, free snow bike demos, chili and baked goods. A timed sprint event that ends with a BB gun target shoot provides plenty of laughs.
“It’s a family-friendly, fun event,” said organizer Ken Fagerlin. “We owe a big thank-you to our groomers who put down a beautiful corduroy track, and are out there after every storm. With all the snow, conditions are epic this year.”
The groomers are Jimbo Fairley, Mike “Goose” Gosling, Shawn Gregory, Grayson Hogue and Eric Hogue.
They use snowmobiles pulling customized grooming equipment to lay down the track on designated routes. Maps of the snow biking routes are posted at intersections.
“They even work at night with lights so the next morning, conditions are perfect,” Fagerlin said. “Their grooming technique has really evolved over the years and provides a great service for the recreating public.”
Snow biking requires a wider tire between 3.5 inches and 5 inches, low tire pressure between 3 and 8 PSI and a compacted snow surface. The wider, low-pressure tires provide flotation and traction on the track.
The sport’s popularity is growing. Snow biking extends the biking season and is a great way to enjoy the winter landscape, Fagerlin said. But newcomers should not expect a superfast, thrill ride more typical of mountain bike riding.
“It is a slower, chill kind of pace. “The resistance on the snowpack and hills make for a great workout,” he said.
Regarding the Groomer Gathering sprint event, participants use a small snow bike fixed in one gear and are timed on a one-eighth mile out-and-back course. Afterward, they are handed a BB gun and try to hit can targets, knocking off 10 seconds of their race time for each can they hit.
“There is lots of cheering and laughing as racers try do calm their heart rate to aim,” Fagerlin said.
For more information and trail maps, visit the website of Southwest Colorado Cycling Association.