Canadian winters are legendary, so why put the bike away when the snow falls?
A long list of Canadian fat bike events running this winter from coast to coast to the far north in Canada this winter show the passion for the plus sized tires is only growing in our country. From XC races to group rides, overnight expeditions to extreme ultramarathon events, here’s where to ride fat bikes in Canada in 2019:
Ontario’s Fatbike series kicked off in December, but there’s still plenty of time to catch up in the series. “Best 4 of 5” format lets you make up for missing the Turkey Point race in December to contest the series overall. Racing resumes Jan. 12 with the Albion Hills Fat Bike Festival.
Feb. 9 – Cobden, Ont.
You don’t have to go to far-off places to ride far distances. Wendigo Fat Bike Ultra brings endurance to the Ottawa region. Racers cross over 20km of lake ice in distances of 50, 100 or 150 km, self supported, through the Ottawa Valley.
Feb. 2 – Huntsville, Ont.
Deerhurst Resort is bringing back the Muskoka Winter Bike Fest for 2019. A family friendly event, including a fat bike race with different categories, Muskoka Winter Bike Fest keeps the fun rolling well into the evening with a bonfire, live music, a chili meal and beer tasting for the adults.
Jan. 13, Feb. 17th, March 10 – Petawawa, Ont.
New to the scene for 2019 is BORCA Fat and Frosty race series. From the organizers of Spring Chicken XC, Beachburg, Ont.’s trail association started its new fat bike series of on Jan. 13th. Lucky racers hit the groomed trails on an especially frosty -20C, and were rewarded with warm chili, leaders jersey’s and prize packs from White Water Brewing, Madawaska Coffee Co., Endura.
Jan 10 – 12 – Jasper, Alta.
Utah-based Frosty’s Fat Bike Race Series brings big racing action to the big mountains of Jasper National Park. With a Ride with Pro’s event, XC race, and the main event, an Endurance XC event with thousands of dollars in cash prizing, there’s plenty of action packed into three short day. Read more about last years event, then follow this year.
Feb. 9 – Hinton, Alta.
The Growler is a fat bike endurance race where participants complete as many laps as possible within a 3 hour time limit. There’s also a 1.5 hour ‘Howler’ category for anyone not interested in the full distance, and a ‘Root Beer’ kids category.
Feb. 16 – Devon, Alta.
Shift Happens Bicycle Repair has hosted six editions of the Devon Blizzard fatbike race. The long-running event rolls through the river valley trails beside the town of Devon. Details to come at Devon Bicycle Association’s event page.
Grizzly Growler Fat Bike Marathon and Relay
March 10 – Canmore, Alta.
Canmore Nordic Centre hands over the trails from cross country skiiers to the chubby-tired crowd for they day when Grizzly Growler returns for 2019. Race details are up now on the event page for this six-hour fat bike event. Race solo or in teams of two or three. There’s discounted rental bikes from sponsor Rebound Cycle in Canmore, and early-bird prizing until 31 January.
Cross River Ripper
Feb. 23 – Nipika Resort, B.C.
Deep in the mountains between Banff, Alta and Radium Hot Springs, B.C. lies the Nipika Resort. With a network of dedicated and groomed fatbike trails winding through the woods beneath Rocky Mountain peaks, Nipika is a particularly idyllic setting for a fat bike event. After the inaugural event in 2018, the Cross River Ripper is back for a second year.
FreezerBurnt Fat Tire Fest and Winter-Tri
Feb. 18th – Burns Lake, B.C.
Spend your Family Day weekend on fat bikes with the family at FreezerBurnt Fat Tire Fest and Winter-Tri. Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association is bringing the singletrack back this winter, with a 10km fat bike loop, fun fat bike activities for kids, and and Winter-Tri. Hone your transition skills with fat bike, run and snowshoe legs, or enter as a team.
Rossland Winter Carnival
Jan. 24 – 27 – Rossland, B.C.
Canada’s oldest winter carnival, which has been running since 1898. The full 2019 event schedule is yet to be released, but past events have included XC and even DH fat bike events. The Sonny Samuelson Bobsled Race is a classic event, plus there’s a parade.
After an early start in December, this event series resumes with the Falcon Race on Jan. 13th. There’s different distances for different skill levels, and levels of interest in being outside in a Manitoba winter. There’s races at Falcon, Forty Whyte, and even in the heart of Winnipeg at the historic Forks.
February 15 – 17, 2019
Winnipeg, Man. (finish)
Actif Epica combines extreme distance racing, over 125, 162 or 200 km distances, with a celebratory atmosphere. Organizers present the Actif Epica as “a human-powered event, bringing communities together in a DIY celebration of human ingenuity in a cold winter environment.” You’ll need all the ingenuity you can muster to make it to through the unrelenting cold and brutal winds of a Southeastern Manitoba winter to the finish in downtown Winnipeg.
Traversée du Lac-Saint-Jean
Feb. 14 – 16 – Lac Saint-Jean, Que
Make the journey up to northern Quebec for Traversée du Lac-Saint-Jean, an annual event running since 2013 that follows a swimming event across the same lake that has been running since 1955. While the weather may be cold, the pace is often quite hot. Last year’s event was won in a record time by Canadian national mountain bike team member Leandré Bouchard.
Gatineau Loppet Vélo sur Neige
Jan. 12 – Gatineau, Que
The famous Gatineau Loppet cross country ski race added a fat bike event to its program schedule. While not on the same day, it uses the same trails as international ski event, held annually in February. For 2019, there are 12km, 25km, and 37km race options. Presented in cooperation with l’Association de Vélo de Montagne de l’Outaouais – OMBA (AVMO), this is your chance to race on the trails of Hautes-Plaines golf course.
Nistowiak and Back
March 16 -17 – La Ronge, Sask
Nistowiak and Back fat bike expedition is hosted by the Boreal Outdoor Recreation Association (BORA) of La Ronge, and visits one of the highest waterfalls in Saskatchewan. Details on BORA’s Facebook page.
March 2 – Bathurst, N.B.
If one winter sport isn’t enough for you, Big Chill / Grand Frisson combines fat biking with snowshoeing in a winter duathlon. Or stick to fat bike only categories, new for 2019, including the option of renting if you’re new to the plusher tire bikes.
Defi Fatbike p/b Mike’s Bike Shop
Feb 3 – Dieppe, N.B.
Part of the Dieppe Winter Carnival 2019
Defi fatbike follows a unique format where riders leave in waves of four every minute. Seems cool!
2019 Tour de Beer – Frostival Fredericton
Jan. 26 – Fredericton, N.B.
Calling itself the fondo of fat biking, Tour de Beer is a roaming group ride through Fredericton singletrack, hitting several breweries along the way.
Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra
February 3 – 16, 2019
Following the Yukon Quest sleddog trail, Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra racers depart Whitehorse to cover marathon, 100 mile or 300 mile distances. In odd number years, like 2019, there’s an option to race the entire 430 mile distance to reach Dawson City. Combining extremely remote wilderness with ultra distances and northern Canadian winter is not for the faint of heart.