-by Rose Caiazzo
Guide for Teton Mountain Bike Tours since 2008
Winter is usually synonymous with skiing and snowboarding in a mountain town. But, for me? It’s now all about snow biking. Or, as it’s more affectionately known these days as “fat biking.”
I am a proud owner of a fat bike. Yes, people ohhh and ahhh over it everywhere I go in town, as it still seems to be a novelty – but, I’ve always known what’s it’s like to bike in winter. Especially in winters when the snow blows sideways and the temps drop to well below zero. See, I was one of those people that biked in winter when no one else did. I used to bike around Jackson using my mountain bike with studs. And, being a woman biking around town in winter brought even more stares…
I moved to Jackson Hole back in 2007, and fell in love with the way of life here in the Tetons. I even sold my car and lived a life of biking for two years before I purchased another car. But now? Others have joined this way of life with their fat bikes. And, suddenly – everyone that has one, has become “one of my people.”
My boyfriend Nate has been a mountain bike racer for over 20 years. When I finally got him on a fat bike last winter, I could tell by his face there was no turning back for him. We bought our snow bikes this winter and have been having SO much fun with them! Mostly riding the Cache Creek trails as fast as we can, but also trying our luck at Munger and other areas that will allow snow bikes too.
This past weekend Nate and I went to Turpin Meadow Ranch and explored almost ALL of the pristine places they have in their groomed trail system. When we checked in and the woman behind the desk gave us a map, we knew we were hooked. Of course I tend to think my boyfriend only heard her say, “the hilly trails are behind the lodge” and he took off going that way to start. This is natural to him, being from the mountainous hills of Big Bear in California.
I begrudgingly followed him straight up a hill (Charlie Brown Lane), but soon had a big smile on my face. The trails were tough, but totally doable. And, groomed to perfection! Most people marvel that a bike can get up those hills with such ease. People still look at us a bit warily on bikes, but always wave to you as you pass them doing traditional Nordic (sometimes the skate skiers are faster than the bikes though)! We know that sharing the trails and being respectful is important.
Nate and I also enjoy the quiet solitude of the forest. We loved that all the trails at Turpin winded around through the quiet woods, and had some serious up and down to them. We explored the Snoopy Loop, Mule Loop (3 times!), Nancy’s Loop and The Riverside Loop. All were amazing to do, especially on a sunny, winter day.
When we finished a few hours later, we settled into the lodge for a cocktail and an awesome view of the Tetons. Not for long though, as a snowstorm blew in and clouded our view completely. But, as it usually is (if you’re watching the weather), we were at the right place, at the right time and the pictures tell the rest of the story…
If you’re a snow biker, just know that a day at Turpin is a total joy. The trails are mostly untouched and there’s lots of ground to cover with a fat bike. All in all, we love that Turpin Meadow gets quite a bit of snow to ride on and welcomes bikes on the trails. Nate and I are planning our next visit up that way to enjoy another glorious day on our fat bikes very soon.
A big thank you goes out to Turpin Meadow Ranch (and the manufacturer of our bikes — Surly!) for making our every winter bike dream come true!