It’s been a weird winter or, more accurately, a series of weird winters erased and replaced on a near-weekly basis since November. That’s made the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series serve even more as a talismanic, sentimental source of that winter feeling; if we’re racing on snow, it’s winter!
This year, the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series took a refreshed approach to support fat bike events across the region and supporting Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association. $5 of the $20 registration fee went straight to NMMBA, with the remaining revenue and sponsorship funds directed toward prizes. That model should keep the Series around for a while – and help keep great fat bike races going strong.
Why Fat Bike Racing Matters
Winter is hard, especially when Michigan cities see just a few minutes of sunshine over the course of a whole month. Variable snow conditions make it tough to get outside to enjoy winter trails, and poorly time warm-ups cause event cancelations. This year, Fat Chance! at Crystal Mountain was canceled for the first time in its 11-year history, while the North
American Vasa was forced to cancel its Sunday classic ski and snowshoe events.
Unfortunately, inconsistent and disappointing winters may be the norm in the years ahead. While skiers will push the limits of their rocks skis to get out and enjoy the trails, fat bikes are ideal machines for getting outside when winter is coming and going on a weekly basis. They might serve as cross-training for skiers or slow shift to become a more central part of winter sports – if winter won’t cooperate.
The Future of Winter
We’re already seeing the effects of climate change. While 2022-2023 snowfall totals aren’t dramatically lower than previous years, how that snowfall has accumulated is different. High average temperatures have left Lake Michigan almost completely ice-free. That allows northern winds to capture more moisture during strong cold fronts, dumping lake-effect snow in storms and blizzards.
The result? A feast-or-famine of snowfall that is unpredictable and challenging for winter sports enthusiasts.
Making the Most of Winter
The SBFBS, its 5 races, and NMMBA are determined to provide the best possible winter experiences possible. You can support the mission; get out and race (or ride!) SBFBS events, rent skis from a local bike shop or support our winter grooming program. Let’s make the most of the snow when we have it!