Überwintern 2017 Retrospective



Überwintern is my favorite fatbike event of the season. Thanks to a strengthening local and regional fatbike community, 2017 did not disappoint. 320 of us united for a pristine day of winter cycling revelry.

Before I let Colleen (first time fatbiker and MTBVT digital den mother/editor) recount the day, I’d like to fire off a few bits or gratitude to the deserving parties that make Über such an amazing day. Stowe Mountain Bike Club, you guys are the PB to our J! Thanks for manning (& womanning) base camp and the remote aid station. Von Trapp Brewing and Green Mountain Distillers, you know we love you! New comers Tretap… welcome to the fam! Lucy, Matt and Leslie you are supreme groomin’ humans. Chucks Bikes crew Hank, Tom, Pat, Jason thanks for leading the charge on the big ride. Same to you David, Allezy for life! QC crew represent! PA crew represent! Kingdom crew what up?! A round of applause for Rick and Four Points Tours and Mark and Dave from Highland for helping raise the bar with fatbike shuttles! And Sushi Yoshi… most gracious hosts, cheers! 

Also, a massive shoutout to the sharp shooting photogs for documenting our shenanigans! 

Grant Weiler
Jake Goss
Will Freihofer
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

Colleen, take it away… 
TALES OF A FIRST TIME FATBIKE
Words from our very own editor and first lady of fatbiking, Colleen

The day began beautifully frigid, with temperatures barely climbing into the double digits. That didn’t stop fat bike enthusiasts from flocking to Stowe for the 2017 Überwintern Festival. Folks arrived early to sign up, grab some demo bikes, and get out on the well-groomed trails of Cady Hill, the rec path, and beyond. Arriving at around 9:30 am, Reed (my husband) and I warmed by the bonfire and took everything in. The atmosphere was full of excitement for the coming adventures!

Ethan emerged from the Jay Cloud for the day. – Wieler photo

 

We watched as happy folks departed on their fat-tired steeds for the beginner through advanced group rides, each full to the brim with smiling bikers. Having never ridden a fat bike before, I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about. With so many vendors around, there were a lot of bikes to try; however, the demos went fast! Brooke Scatchard’s Fat Bike Skis (a fat bike with a ski swapped out for the front wheel…yeah) were constantly being taken out for little joy rides around the festival grounds. We finally found some available demos at the Outdoor Gear Exchange tent – A pair of Rocky Mountain Blizzards.

New to the Fatbike scene, Vermont’s own Fat Bike Skis. Wieler Photo

I joyfully hopped on the seat and pedalled a bit, thrilled to be on a bike in January. Reed and I made plans to meet some others at the Cady Hill parking lot and set off. The bike rode well, my confidence level was high, and I thought, “this isn’t much different from mountain biking”. I proceeded to turn up the slick drive and immediately wiped out. HARD. Turns out, it’s different than mountain biking.

Blushing scarlet, I picked myself up and prayed that no one witnessed my asphalt attack. A friendly fat biker appraised me and offered up his bike chains. Bike Chains? What is this sport!? I groaned embarrassedly and declined. Instead, I followed my less clumsy husband up the trailhead and into Cady Hill. “It can only get better”, I mused.

And it did. The day was gorgeous; the woods gleamed. I warmed myself up on the uphill, and went slowly on the steeper, icy-looking patches of trail. I was surrounded by fellow fat bikers with all levels of experience, out to enjoy the quiet, exhilarating ride. I ran into a friend of mine from Killington who motivated me to keep climbing. We arrived at a bonfire at the green chair overlook to many happy people laughing, sipping rejuvenating beverages, and discussing their routes. Everyone was loving it. After a sip myself, my knee hurt a bit Iess and I started to see why people love fat biking. Sure, there’s constant danger and more treacherous terrain, but it’s invigorating and makes you a better rider.

Shuttles! Jeb Photo

Chuck Carcasson and Max Shredly travled all the way from Stowe to be at the event. – Goss photo

Farthest flung attendees, these guys were back for more from PA! Cheers guys! – Goss photo

The bigger the beard the better the traction. – Goss photo

– Goss photo

This guy’s hammertime super power is obviously derived from his mustache. – Goss photo

Kingdom Crew in action – Wieler Photo

Wintertime and the livin’s easy. Alex is starting to like this sport. – Jeb photo

Aiden, first fatbike ride… no problem. – Jeb photo

Train engine, Hank! – Jeb photo

McAndrew on the prowl – Jeb photo

I was convinced to keep trekking and followed Reed and some friends over to Flo, Cady Hill’s signature descent, which was SO fun. After some much needed advice to keep my balance at all times and spin rather than sink, I started to get the hang of it. I had such a blast on the downhill, I didn’t even mind the climb back out. Everyone I met had a grin on their face. How could I have a bad time? 

Isabelle, smiles for miles! – Freihofer photo 

Amy in hot pursuit. –  Wieler Photo

Mike goes beast-mode on Flo! – Wieler photo

Near beast-mode overdose – Freihofer photo

Mansmann wins “most photogenic” at Über each year. – Wieler photo

Obviously having a terrible time. – Wieler photo

We returned our bikes a bit regrettingly and headed over to the outdoor bar to redeem our drink tickets for some tasty beers from Trapp Brewing. Two Dunkels, and Reed and I were feeling our toes again. We headed into Sushi Yoshi for a delicious lunch of chinese delicacies such as fried rice, edamame, lo mein and miso soup.

Meanwhile back at base camp… – Goss photo

 

 

 

 

Ferkin eh! Bug ups to Trapps for the custom suds! – Wieler photo

Duane: “nom nom nom nom nom!” Mike: “omp omp omp!” – Wieler photo

The line grew as riders returned from their excursions. The air was ripe with tales of one another’s adventures through the snowy Stowe trails. Over my brew, I reflected on hubris, bike chains, and trying new things and realized that Fat Biking is a pretty amazing way to spend a Vermont winter’s day. See you on the trails again soon!

– Colleen

SEE YOU ALL AT HIGHLAND MOUNTAIN FOR WINTER WOOLLY ON FEB 11TH