Dear Quandary: What is a fat bike? |

Dear Quandary: What is a fat bike?

Quandary answers your questions about Summit County lifestyle

Dear Quandary,

What is a fat bike?

Ah, the obese velocipede.

In reality, a fat bike might help keep you slender throughout the winter by allowing you to keep those biking muscles in shape year-round. You see, a fat bike is a frame with big-boned tires. Riding a fat bike can be challenging, but it allows you to get better grip in the snow, though it works best on a compacted trail.

The tires are much wider than those on a regular mountain bike, and they have deep tread. It uses the same basic principle as snowshoes, dispersing your weight over a wider area so you don’t just sink down.

If you do make the conversion and find yourself believing that big is beautiful, the key to keeping your butt above the tires is in your ability to keep rhythm. Jerking movements are going to make this ride a lot tougher than it should be, so try to focus on maintaining consistent strides and controlled steering.

One thing to keep in mind is there is a big difference between fat and snow bikes. Snow bikes are for the skier who doesn’t want to fall as far when things go poorly, or at least that would be this old goat’s reasoning; if you’re sitting down, you’re already in an ideal tuck-and-roll position. The simple way of explaining a snow bike is to take away the tires and toss on skis instead. The handling system is a little bit different as well. It does have a front handlebar that will steer as your weight shifts, but even more importantly, two tiny skis are strapped to your boots, and you use those to turn and burn. This method is less likely to help keep your cycling muscles rippling, but it’s a fun and different way to make your trip down the hill.

If you are interested in checking out either of these options, there are fat bike rentals throughout the county, and places that will take you on a guided tour.

Snow bikes, on the other hand, can be rented to rip down many of Keystone’s trails, so check in with the resort for more information about how to get your tiny skis, and where you are allowed to go.

Dear Quandary,

Can I take my drone and make some epic footage on the ski resorts?


While I appreciate your brand recognition and need to be in front of a camera, the slopes might not be the place for it. In case there was any doubt, Vail Resorts does indeed have a drone use policy, which basically boils down to ‘no, you can’t use it.’

The finer points of the policy state that drones are not allowed for recreational use at all on — or above — any of Vail’s properties.

Why, you ask? Because they said so. Safety is the major concern as a drone just adds a whole new layer to the accident possibilities on the slopes. I mean think about it: What would be worse than a slope full of gapers? A slope full of gapers and sky full of drones, no doubt. Oh, the horror! Not only will you get cutoff, but your anger-laden tirade will then get blasted all over YouTube.

Besides that fact, I’m sorry, but unless you’re unloading with a switch double cork 900 on the halfpipe, do you really need to be on film? I mean, let’s face it, chances are you aren’t going to look as good on film as you do in your head, so why not leave the slope montages to the Warren Miller crew and get back to perfecting those pizza slice, French fry techniques that might still be a little evasive.

If you do suffer from selfie addiction, don’t fret, at the lodge you are more than welcome to turn your poles into a selfie stick and shutterbug yourself until Narcissus himself pushes you into a snow bank.


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