Wide-tire riders were not intimidated by an epic snow year in Crested Butte this past January. The second annual Fat Bike World Championships came to town and hundreds of eager riders showed up from across the globe. They came for two races and a demo day on trails near town, as well as a lift-served downhill event held at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. And the championship race, with 300 participants, was “just right,” says organizer Dave Ochs.

“Too many more, and it would have ruined the experience for riders,” says Ochs, who is the director of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association. “Too many people deteriorate the trail.”

Temperatures hung below zero all weekend, but sunshine  kept people lingering between vendor tents. Fire pits burned into snow holes and electric heaters served as thawing stations for frozen toes and fingers in the small pop-up bike village. And after parties at a different venue each night kept chilly butts shaking.

Due to record snowfall, the top of the downhill course was pure carnage. Almost every rider caught a slow fall on at least one of the the soft, powder-filled corners.

“We’re learning more and more about the downhill element,” Ochs says. “Getting the ideal terrain will be the ideal approach for next year.”

Kim Fuller