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Fat Bike Worlds event returns to Colorado January 26-28

Leadville in 2024 and CB in 2025?

The highly anticipated 2024 Fat Bike Worlds is set to make a triumphant return to Colorado in January for its ninth annual celebration of fat biking excellence. After a brief hiatus from the state, the event is gearing up to take place in the picturesque town of Leadville, promising participants an elevated fat biking experience against the stunning backdrop of the state’s highest peaks.

Crested Butte’s Dave Ochs will be emceeing the event and the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association benefits from the Worlds. It is slated to return to CB for its 10th anniversary! 

But this January, it will be hosted in Leadville. According to a press release from the event organizers, Leadville, with its rich history, charming downtown and breathtaking natural beauty, is the perfect setting for the Fat Bike Worlds. The event is renowned for fostering a spirit of fun and camaraderie, and this year’s host, The Cloud City Wheelers, is committed to ensuring an unforgettable experience for all participants.

As Leadville/Lake County’s trail advocacy group, Cloud City Wheelers dedicate themselves to building and maintaining trails year-round throughout the area. They are the driving force behind Colorado’s longest-running winter mountain bike races, the Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series. With over 60 miles of groomed trails in the vicinity, riders can expect a diverse range of options, from windy narrow groomed singletrack to above-treeline trails offering awe-inspiring views.

The main event of the Fat Bike Worlds will unfold at Colorado Mountain College, utilizing the college’s unique rolling terrain to create a course that challenges riders of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned racer or a novice rider, the event promises excitement and adventure. Additionally, a new and thrilling addition to this year’s lineup is a multi-stage downhill race through Leadville’s historic East Side Mining District, blending the spirit of enduro racing with the exhilaration of fat biking.

To cap off the festivities, Leadville will host a kids’ race and an on-trail snow grooming workshop, providing a perfect conclusion to this action-packed weekend.

Event Details:

January 26-28, 2024

Leadville, Colorado

Mark your calendars for January 26-28, the 2024 Fat Bike Worlds invites you to be a part of this exhilarating weekend.

Fat Bike Worlds to showcase Fat Bike Polo

Polo de bicicleta gorda en la avineda Elk

by Than Acuff

The Borealis Fat Bike Worlds presented by Ska Brewing are coming this Friday through Sunday, January 24-26, and while the world championship race on Saturday is the premier event of the weekend, the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) and the town of Crested Butte are shutting down the block of Elk Avenue in front of the Brick Oven at 3 p.m. for some Fat Bike Polo action Friday, January 24.

According to a pamphlet procured from the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, polo is one of the oldest team sports in the world and started on the other side of the planet.

“The Persians probably developed polo to improve cavalry skills in battle,” reads the pamphlet. “The game spread across Asia along the Chinese silk route…”

It goes on to trace the game of polo to England via their colonization of India and propensity for sport and empire. But it wasn’t until July 5, 1987 that polo soon became a sport played on bikes as well, when a crew of haggard bike enthusiasts were working off a rough night with some croquet, got on a bike and “invented” bike polo.

Fast-forward 32 years and CBMBA has taken the reins on the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds and taken bike polo and carried it over into winter to host a Fat Bike Polo tournament as part of the fat bike festivities.

“We want to celebrate bikes in the winter and bring in the world’s oldest sport,” says CBMBA director Dave Ochs.

Ochs and CBMBA are looking for 64 players to sign up who will then be split into 32 teams, with two people per team. There will be two “courts” set up on Elk Avenue in front of the Brick Oven, where teams will battle through a series of 10-minute games starting at 5 p.m. culminating with the championship game at approximately 9 p.m. The “courts” will be snow-covered, possibly a bit icy, but Ochs has a plan to help players stay upright.

“We’re going to use what nature gives us but the town will be throwing down some gravel for extra traction,” says Ochs. “Super cool of those guys.”

There are some rules and they can all be found online at One rule that is especially sticky is the foot-down ruling. In true bike polo, the foot may not hit the ground during play or a penalty is enforced. The same is true in the fat bike version, just not as stringent.

“It’s criminal to put your foot down in bike polo but we’re not going to blow the whistle all of the time,” says Ochs. “We want people to play.”

If you are called for a foot down though, you may have to run into the Brick Oven and chug an adult beverage provided by Ska before returning to play, leaving your teammate to play solo until you return.

As for bikes, fat bikes are preferred but not mandatory and if people want to play on bikes with plus-sized tires, or even mountain bike tires, that will be allowed.

“We got all sorts of things to make it easier for everybody to play,” says Ochs.

There may be some town-on-town rivalries as well, as rumors are swirling that both Durango and Carbondale, towns with fervent bike polo followings, may be sending teams in for a shot at the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds Fat Bike Polo (BFBWFBP) title.

All information, registration and regulations can be found at

Fat bikers to roll into town next weekend

Bike polo on Elk Avenue

by Than Acuff

Once again, fat bikers from all over the state, the country and even possibly from overseas, will roll into Crested Butte for the fifth annual Borealis Fat Bike Worlds presented by Ska Brewing Friday through Sunday, January 24-26. And while the Fat Bike World Championships on Saturday are the centerpiece event of the weekend, the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds will also bring a new event to the line-up by incorporating what is arguably the “oldest team sport” into the modern era. We’re talking Fat Bike Polo.

The Borealis Fat Bike Worlds are now completely under the umbrella of the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA). After sharing the event with the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce the first four years, CBMBA has now taken the helm completely and they are simplifying things just a tad. For starters, they have eliminated the races typically held on Thursday of the event weekend at the North Village by the Snodgrass trailhead.

“It’s a tough venue with all of the wind and the weather,” says CBMBA director Dave Ochs.

As a result, the weekend officially kicks off on Friday, January 24 with fat bike demos at race headquarters behind the Crested Butte Community School. There will be a vendor village out there and fat bike demos from Borealis and the official Fat Tire World Championship course will be open for riders to enjoy and racers to strategize.

“It’s the only time people will get a chance to pre-ride and check out the course,” says Ochs. “We just want to thank Crested Butte Nordic and the homeowners along that stretch of Nordic track for allowing us to use it for the event.”

Registration for the weekend events and the world championships will be open at the event headquarters behind the school until 3 p.m. Then, things take a turn to prepare the masses for the debut of Fat Bike Polo—possibly the only Fat Bike Polo event on the planet, hell, probably the only one in the universe.

Following a brief break, event organizers will then be set up at the Brick Oven at 4 p.m. for registration and preliminary activities leading up to the Fat Bike Polo tournament on Elk Avenue.

According to an informational pamphlet procured by Ochs from the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, bike polo was invented in Crested Butte in 1987.

The pamphlet reads, “One July 5th in Crested Butte, Colorado—the fat tire bike capital of the world—a group of merrymakers attempted to put last night’s revelries behind them. While playing a docile game of croquet, one visitor noticed her mountain bike lying neglected nearby on the grass. During some particularly slow play, she mounted her bike, mallet in hand, and took a few swings at a croquet ball. Eureka!!”

Now, thanks to CBMBA, bike polo has now made the move to winter for Fat Bike Polo.

“We’re jumping on that train and keeping the tradition alive on fat bikes, in the snow, on Elk Avenue,” says Ochs. “We wanted to do something different and bring Fat Bike Worlds to downtown Crested Butte. We wanted to bring the party to the heart of town.”

CBMBA has the mallets—ski poles with mallet heads on the end—and glow-in-the-dark balls and is looking for 64 intrepid athletes to be part of the magic Friday evening.

All of the rules for the tournament are available on the website so I will spare you that but rest assured, all you need is a fat bike, or a bike with plus-sized tires, and a penchant for the extreme. The action starts at 5 p.m. with the championship game around 8:30 p.m.

Ochs does recommend plenty of pads, perhaps even headlamps, and a readiness for anything.

“We have no idea what conditions will be like,” says Ochs. “I’m expecting high scoring, high fun entertainment.”

Saturday morning is when the weekend comes to a climax with the Fat Bike World Championships. Day-of race registration opens at the vendor village location at 8:30 a.m. and sign-up is already ahead of past years. The vendor village officially opens at 10 a.m. and the racing starts at 11 a.m. The start/finish area is behind the school and the racers will complete five laps, including the optional money booter, with a three-lap option available for the fun race.

“We got some heavy hitters coming back to defend their titles and it’ll be very competitive out front,” says Ochs. “But it’s also about being out there on a fat bike, eating bacon, drinking whiskey and having fun.”

The after-party kicks off at 3:30 p.m. with live music and the awards ceremony is at 4:20 p.m., with the party continuing at the vendor village with more live music, heated tents, Ska Brewing beer and plenty of BBQ food.

“We encourage anybody to come out and join in the celebration,” says Ochs.

The weekend closes on Sunday as 45NRTH will host a group ride on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Volunteers are always needed and you can contact CBMBA to help out by emailing and all information and registration can be found at

Borealis Fat Bike Worlds turns it up

Four days of all things Fat goes off

by Than Acuff

It was a stellar weekend for the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds, Thursday through Sunday, January 24-27. More than 200 fat bike riders, with plenty of friends and family in tow, were out for four days of races and events that included demos from bike companies, plenty of racing, plenty of parties, plenty of Upslope beer, food, and some serious track and sun for some serious fat bike fun. It has come so far that even the Wall Street Journal was in town to cover the event.

“It went great,” says Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce director Ashley Upchurch. “We had an awesome time and lots of positive feedback from racers and vendors.”

About the only crimp in the entire weekend was Mother Nature, as she decided to mix things up with sunny skies and wind, making for some grooming challenges as pristine track continued to get blown in. Thursday’s racetrack in the North Village was hammered by the wind, as was the world championships course on Saturday starting and finishing at the Club at Crested Butte.

“The wind was not appreciated,” says Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) director and Fat Bike Worlds race director Dave Ochs. “The Nordic Center killed it Friday night getting the track in for the race but at 11:08 on Saturday, the winds kicked up again. But the fat bikers didn’t complain—people had a great time and that’s all I care about.”

Except for maybe one participant Saturday who may have had too much fun at the aid stations, opting for whiskey instead of water.

“We were lucky to have the venue out at the club,” adds Upchurch. “It was an awesome new venue.”

The world championships Saturday proved to be a throw down with the men’s podium, and much of the top 10 really, a collection of professional riders including two-time Mexican National champion rider Tony Baca in third, Fat Tire Birkie winner Chris Stevens in second place and champion triathlete/ professional coach Josiah Middaugh taking the win. Former Gunnison Valley resident and pro rider Amy Beisel took the women’s title and cyclocross champion Megan Barr came in third.

“The podium was legendary,” says Ochs. “The women’s podium was incredible, too.”

While the event draws a large contingent of Coloradans and even some folks from overseas, a strong contingent of fat bikers from Minnesota and Wisconsin was on hand, and on the podium, and they look to bring more back next year en masse.

“They were super-stoked and said they’re bringing more with them next year,” says Ochs. “That’s the stuff I care about.”

Upchurch looks forward to bringing the event back again next year and couldn’t be happier and more appreciative with the end result.

“I feel awesome about it,” says Upchurch. “I want to thank Dave and Laura with CBMBA for their help and all of the volunteers. This event takes so much human power.”

Borealis Fat Bike Worlds Schedule

Complete information at

Thursday, January 2, North Village Classic.

Location: North Village in Mt. Crested Butte

Race Details: 10 miles; 8 laps on a 1.25-mile loop

Race solo or in teams of 2 or 4.

Times: 9 a.m. check-in

10:30 a.m. Racer meeting (required)

11 a.m. Race start

2 p.m. Awards at the venue

Located about 1.5 miles past Crested Butte Mountain Resort, North Village is one of the most scenic areas in the entire valley with gorgeous views of Mt. Axtell, Gothic Mountain and Mt. Crested Butte. This area is a must-ride.

Award categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd in 4-P Coed, Men, and Women; 2-P Coed, Men, and Women; Solo 20-35 Men and Women; Solo 35-50 Men and Women; Solo 50+ Men and Women

After Party:
6 p.m. at Elk Avenue Brewing Company, 215 Elk Ave., with music by Gun Rack. All are welcome to come party with us. Racers, show your wristbands for a free Upslope beer, and please remember to tip your bartender even if you get a free drink. Other drinks and food will be available for purchase as well.

Friday, January 25, Demo Day

Location: North Village in Mt. Crested Butte

Times: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Test ride some of the latest and greatest fat bikes on the market. Try a fat bike for the first time or throw your leg over a brand new 2019 model. All event vendors will be at North Village from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration and check-in for Saturday’s Championship race and Sunday’s Crit will also be available.

After Party: Hit the streets of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte for drinks, dinner and live music. There’s lots to do in town, and many restaurants and shops will be offering FBW-specific specials. Check the racer booklet’s Local Specials page for details.

Saturday, January 26, Borealis Fat Bike World Championships

Location: The Club at Crested Butte

Times: 8 a.m. Check-in

10:30 a.m. Racer meeting (required)

11 a.m. Race start

Race Details: Championship Race: 32 miles; 4 laps on an 8-mile loop. Fun Race: 16 miles; 2 laps on an 8-mile loop.

2019’s new race venue and course are sure to please. Watch from the deck of the Club at Crested Butte as racers wind their way around the golf course, out to town ranch and back again. The viewing and racing will be better than ever.

Award categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd in Fun Jr. Women and Men, 20-29 Women and Men, 30-39 Women and Men, 40-49 Women and Men, 50+ Women and Men, Clydesdales, Athenas; Championship Jr. Women and Men, 20-29 Women and Men, 30-39 Women and Men, 40-49 Women and Men, 50+ Women and Men; $6,000 cash purse for 1st-5th Overall Women and Men

After Party: 6 p.m. at Talk of the Town, 230 Elk Ave.

6:15 p.m. Awards

6:45 p.m. Live music by Alternative People. Anyone is welcome for the awards ceremony and live music. Racers, show your wristbands for a free Upslope beer; please remember to tip your bartender even if you get a free drink. Other drinks will be available at the bar as well.

Sunday, January 27 Winter Townie Crit

Location: 3rd to 1st Street on Elk Avenue

Times: 9 a.m. Check-in

10:30 a.m. Racer meeting (required for fun and pro heat racers)

11 a.m. Fun heat

12 p.m. Pro heat

1:15 p.m. Awards on the Brick Oven deck

Race Details: New this year. Grab your winter bike (town, fatty, skinny, whatever) and your best Crested Butte locals costume. Race 45 minutes around a downtown loop then kick off the sprint for a two-lap finish. Come out for the fun or the pro heat, and stay for awards and beer.

Award categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd in fun and pro; best costume and best bike decor in fun all win Eldo gift cards.

Fat Bike Worlds to roll into town next week

New course, new event, same fat fun

by Than Acuff

Here we go again: Fat bikers of all shapes and sizes will be rolling into town next week for the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds, Wednesday through Sunday, January 23-27. The Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce took over the reins of the auspicious event two years ago and continues to work with Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association director Dave Ochs to ensure that all things fat remain fun.

“It’s going to be sick,” says chamber director Ashley UpChurch. “Registration is looking good.”

As of press time a week before the event, registration is hovering around 140 participants, most of whom are from out of town.

“Historically this event is 80 to 90 percent out-of-towners,” says UpChurch.

Participants this year will have three bike companies to demo from: Borealis, Specialized and Why Bikes. Not only can the curious fat biker test ride the bikes on the official demo day at the North Village venue by Snodgrass on Friday, January 25, they can also use the bikes free of charge at any of the races. Anyone interested can get his or her name on the list by emailing

But that’s just the tip of the fatberg. In an effort to make what is considered a great event even better, things have been tweaked some this year as the World Championship course has been moved a bit and the Townie Crit was added to the event menu.

This year’s Fat Bike Worlds venue on Saturday, January 26 will include the eastside trails of Crested Butte Nordic as always, but the start/finish area has been moved to The Club at Crested Butte.

“The catalyst for that move was Dave Ochs,” says UpChurch. “He wanted to add some fat bike track out there.”

Furthermore, the direction the riders go will be the opposite of years past and the last half mile of the eight-mile loop will be singletrack.

“We’re grooming some new track out there and we’re super psyched,” says Ochs. “Plus, we’re going backwards this year, making for tough climbing and super fun descending and the last half mile will be head down, time trialing to the country club. If you wanna win, you gotta race to the singletrack, you really want to be in the track first. If you go off of it, you might disappear.”

Not only does the venue offer stunning views, but riders and fans will be allowed indoors (think the pool scene in Caddyshack) to stay warm, eat, drink and be merry.

“It allows us to have a close inside venue,” says UpChurch. “Fans will be able to see some of the race from inside. The club has been great.”

Last but not least, the Sunday of the Fat Bike Worlds event has been a mishmash of activities including the resort opening its terrain and lifts to downhill fat biking. This year the event wraps up with a Townie Crit and is open to everyone, fat bike or no fat bike.

“That came out of a desire to open things up to more people,” says UpChurch, making “an event people can do on their own bikes.”

The course will be a quick loop through town starting and finishing in front of the Brick Oven and sure to include an alley section. No part of the course will be maintained or manicured so it’s up to the participants to decide what ride is best. One thing is for sure: Upchurch is looking for folks to pull out all of the stops as there will be prizes for best costume and best bike decoration.

“We’re leaving it the way it is,” says UpChurch. “Best of luck to everyone. We’re really pushing for great costumes.”

As always, there will plenty of UpSlope beer throughout the five-day fat fest and plenty of parties each evening. The FBW branding iron will be heated up and ready for application but if that’s a bit too much, Calico Queen tattoo parlor will be around for anyone looking to commemorate their experience with a temporary “flash tat.”

None of this will happen though without a steady stream of volunteers so the chamber is offering free entry into other chamber events such as the Chainless or Beer and Chili Festival for anyone who volunteers at the Fat Bike World Championships. Contact if you can help out and for more information or to register for events go to

Local riders throw down in epic Fat Bike race

“I like being out there all night”

by Than Acuff

A small but strong contingent of local ultra endurance riders took over the Bear Fat Bike Race outside of Steamboat Springs Saturday to Sunday, February 3-4. The race had two options in distance, 50 miles and 105 miles, and the Gunnison Valley riders all stepped up to the 105-mile version.

In the end, only four of the total 11 riders who started the 105-mile tour finished, and three of those four riders all hail from the Gunnison Valley, with Neil Beltchenko winning the men’s race, Jefe Branham coming in third and Beth Shaner winning the women’s race.

All three riders are no strangers to the ultra endurance format, with Beltchenko and Branham both racking up several titles on multi-day endurance races and Shaner having competed in fat bike races in Idaho the past two years.

This race is new on the scene though and, more important, a little closer to home.

“I was pretty excited to do an ultra endurance fat bike race here in Colorado,” says Shaner.

The Bear is just that, a bear. The 105-mile long course reaches up to the Continental Divide, has 10,000 feet of climbing and takes riders into the relatively less-traveled Zirkel Mountains.

For Shaner, the decision between the two distances was easy.

“I like the longer races, that’s kind of my thing,” says Shaner. “I like being out there all night.”

As for her expectations, a little experience went a long way for Shaner as she readied for a full day and night on her fat bike, expecting to come in to the finish line somewhere around 24 hours. That is, if the weather and conditions cooperated.

“With these races the number one goal is always to finish but having two under my belt, I felt a little more confident,” says Shaner. “But, I also knew with the warm temperatures, that could make conditions soft and the race much longer.”

As riders prepared for the 7 a.m. start Saturday, the weather forecast was good, not great. Snow was expected, some wind and temperatures mild for the most part.

“I knew when I woke up that morning and saw the weather, there was going to be some hike-a-bike sections in soft snow,” says Shaner.

While the route follows a groomed snowmobile trail, the fresh snow and wind did make for some interesting conditions along the way.

“It wasn’t all groomed, firm and nice, there was some good old hike-a-bike,” says Shaner.

And while the hike-a-bike portions were there, they were mostly where Shaner expected, especially on some of the steeper climbs to the high points along the course. Fortunately, those climbs pushing her bike up did come with some benefits.

“All of the downhills were rideable, super fun descents. That was a nice reward,” says Shaner.

The wind did factor into the race in some spots. While a lot of the course was in the trees, the wind made for some tricky riding out in the open portions of the course, especially at night, leaving riders to go back and forth between looking ahead and looking at their GPS devices to make sure they were still on course.

“The winds were definitely a big factor,” says Shaner. “In some of the open areas the visibility was not great and it was hard to tell where the groomed trail was.”

The upside was that temperatures were relatively mild, taking the potential for frostbite out of the picture.

Shaner managed to make it to the 90-mile mark before she admitted it was time for a break and she took a little catnap to recharge for the final stretch.

“I was just having trouble staying awake on my bike,” says Shaner. “I stopped with 15 miles to go, which doesn’t seem like very far, but on a fat bike it is.”

Refreshed after a quick nap, Shaner hopped back on her bike to ride out the last 15 miles and finish in a time of 24 hours and 45 minutes for the win.

While her fat bike race season this winter was limited to the Bear, she has her sights set on the ultra endurance race circuit this spring as she plans to jump on her mountain bike to take on the Arizona Trail Race in April.

Fat Bike Worlds returns next week

Low psi, fat tires, free demos, beer

by Than Acuff

For the third year in a row, the north end of the valley will be inundated with fat bikes as the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce hosts the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds, presented by Upslope Brewing Company.

The four-day festival of all things fat bike opens Wednesday evening, January 24 with the kick-off party at the Brick Oven at 5:30 p.m. From then through Sunday, it’s fat bike insanity with races, rides and even lift-served downhilling available for everyone from fat bike enthusiasts to the fat bike curious.

Last year the event drew close to 350 fat bikers to town, including 200 competing in the Fat Bike World Championship race.

This year, Fat Bike Worlds technical director Dave Ochs is hoping for around the same number. While 500 participants would bring in the money, it would take away from the experience.

“Around 250 is a great amount because it’s manageable and will be a great experience for all,” says Ochs.

Registration for the event opened hot, cooled off as the weather patterns had Crested Butte high and dry, but appears to be back on track as the event draws near and the snow has fallen, with numbers around 200 as of this week.

“Our goal was 300 but registrations stalled due to the weather,” adds Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce event coordinator Scott Stewart. “We generally see a last push from the local crowd and the drive market.”

Stewart expects to come close to 250 participants with 50 percent of registrations coming from out of county including some from out of state and even a crew from the United Kingdom. Registration for the two race days will be open until the night before so you have until Wednesday evening to get in on Thursday’s race and you have until Friday evening if you want to partake in the Fat Bike World Championships race.

“We want to keep it open for as long as we possibly can,” says Stewart.

The first races of the event will be on Thursday, January 25 at 11 a.m. in the North Village venue by the Snodgrass trailhead. In its first year the course caused some serious carnage, but tweaks to the course last year has a more rider-friendly track now in place.

“The course is already set to go, so head up there and ride the hell out of the North Village,” says Ochs.

Fat Bike Worlds takes a break from the racing action on Friday but there is still plenty to do as the companies will be back at the North Village with demos ready. A variety of fat bike grooming implements will be out, laying down some sweet track starting at 10 a.m.

The event comes to a head on Saturday, January 27 when riders will line up at 11 a.m. for the third annual Fat Bike World Championships behind the Crested Butte Community School on the Town Ranch.

Sandwiched between the town of Crested Butte and Crested Butte Mountain, the East Side venue has killer views up and down the valley, as well as the charm of being right in town. The venue is typically designated for Nordic skiing only, but permission from the Crested Butte Nordic Center allows organizers to set up a fat bike course you will never forget.

And though the low-snow start to our winter had organizers scrambling to find a new course, the latest string of storms and the grooming maestros at Crested Butte Nordic will have a course much like the ones in the past ready for racing.

“We will have a slight course change and we’ll have to get a little creative but we will keep it a similar distance,” says Ochs.

Granted, while it is the Fat Bike World Championships and a slew of top riders, including some defending champions, will be in attendance, the race has two distance options and is open to all comers.

“There will be the five-lap course for the worlds and a three-lap course for the fun category,” says Ochs. “We want people to dress up and have a good time.”

There will be the same vendor village with food, drinks and fat bikes and Ochs is looking for people to come out in droves to behold the spectacle.

“I want to see people out there on course doing stupid stuff,” says Ochs. “It’s in line with Crested Butte to put on a good party.”

Once people are done licking their metaphysical wounds from Saturday’s extravaganza, there’s one more day in store as Crested Butte Mountain Resort rolls out not one, but two lift-served groomed downhill courses for participants to test their fat bike handling skills by the Gold Link Lift.

“We’ll have two firm, good surfaces for people to ride on,” says Ochs.

“They’ve been a huge help,” says Stewart of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. “They’re instrumental in allowing us to use the North Village and the lift-served downhill; it’s been huge.”

For a more specific schedule, registration and anything else you may need to know about the Fat Bike Worlds, head to There is a 20 percent discount for all chamber members and Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association members.

And, as always, volunteers are needed to pull off this event. To help out as a course marshal contact Ochs at To jump into the logistical side of things such as moving and setting up tents and helping out at the vendor expo contact Stewart at

Fat Bike Worlds roll through Crested Butte

“That was the dream come true, it couldn’t have been any better”

by Than Acuff

Despite a monumental year of snow with skiing off the hook in Crested Butte, the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds hosted by the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) proved that there is a future for the sport, a fat future.

“This year ended up being an absolutely phenomenal event through and through,” says chamber director Eliza Cress. “It was a great combination of epic riding, great courses and partying. We ended up selling out which bodes well for next year.”

Close to 300 participants signed up for the series of races on the North Village, Town Ranch venues and downhill riding at CBMR. CBMBA director Dave Ochs had a frantic week leading up to the event as the organization spent numerous hours setting and resetting track for fat bikers as winds whipped through the north end of the valley.

“It got a little frantic but we had some awesome volunteers out shoveling and we just kept on top of it,” says Ochs.

The crew got a break in the windy weather and temperatures plummeted 24 hours prior to the opening races on Thursday, January 26 allowing the course to set up somewhat, but as the races wore on, the course wore down.

“I think it worked out great,” says Ochs. “It did fall apart in spots but that’s fat biking, it’s not all peaches and cream.”

Fortunately, relatively everyone escaped unscathed and on Friday the fat bike curious had an opportunity to take fat bikes for a spin on a variety of tracks set out throughout the north end of the valley.

“There were bikes all over the place,” says Ochs. “They had three places to ride and people just loved it.”

With winds gone and temperatures sub-zero, riders were treated to firm and fast conditions for the Borealis Fat Bike World Championships race on Saturday.

“That was the dream come true, it couldn’t have been any better,” says Ochs. “Dean Davis of the Nordic cat crew knew exactly what we wanted.”

The field of riders spanned all abilities from several parts of the world ready to endure the freezing temperatures. Both 2016 Fat Bike World Champions Robbie Squire and Amy Beisel were back, heavily decorated pro mountain bike rider Travis Brown was back, a slew of local talent jumped in and riders from all over Colorado, some from the East Coast, Hawaii and even the United Kingdom saddled up for Saturday’s race.

As is his modus operandi, local Brick Oven rider Jordan Willoford, aka Lieutenant Dangle, set the pace on lap one of the five-lap open class race jumping out in front.

As the race progressed, a two-man battle between Squire (who also is a former U23 national road champion and currently rides for the Holowesko-Citadel racing team) and Alex Grant, a professional endurance mountain bike racer for Cannondale, was in the works. A small hiccup from Grant opened a door for Squire and he took the opportunity to pull away for the win finishing the five-lap 30+-mile course in a time of 1:45:49.

On the women’s side Beisel was in the running for a repeat title but when all was said and done, Karen Jarchow took the women’s title in a time of 2:04:02 with Beisel in second just 13 minutes behind.

As for human branding, no one dropped trou and the branding iron was put away, only to get lost later that night as fat bikers and organizers were busy celebrating the end of a tremendous day.

The four-day fatfest wrapped up on Sunday, January 29 with downhill fat biking on Crested Butte Mountain Resort under the Gold Link lift. CBMR and Ochs did what they could to provide downhill track with banked turns and all of the trimmings but rider styles and sunshine started to break the downhill course down. Still, with the Umbrella Bar at the top of the venue and lift rides provided, close to 100 fat bikers made the most of the opportunity to ride their fat bikes on a groomed downhill track on the ski area and closed out the festival in fine form.

“It was something unique and everybody was having a good time,” says Ochs.

As for the future, Cress hopes to continue growing the event, just not too much, and keep it as an “unsanctioned” race.

“We’re hoping to be able to increase the number of people who participate but figure out what the perfect number is to maintain the integrity of the event,” says Cress. “We’re going to keep it unsanctioned indefinitely because that allows us to do what we want to do.”

Fat Bike Worlds coming this weekend

Fat tires, free beer, free brats, free burgers, free branding

by Than Acuff

Yo momma’s so fat, when you tell her to haul ass, it takes her two trips.

The hits just keep coming.

We’re here, we’re fat, get used to it!

Grab your pogies, your booties and saddle up, the Borealis Fat Bike World Championships presented by Upslope Brewing Co. opens on Thursday, January 26 with races on the North Village course, demos and casual riding on Friday, the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds on Saturday and some lift-served fat bike downhilling under the Gold Link lift on Sunday, January 29, concluding the event.

Accept it and roll with it, fat biking is on the rise and thanks to the diligent work of Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association director Dave Ochs and Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce director Eliza Cress, Crested Butte is home to the Fat Bike World Championships. Sure, there’s another supposed fat bike worlds in Alaska but ours blows theirs out of the water.

About the only thing that might hold back the fatness in all of its glory is, ironically, the snow. Sure, the fat, low-psi tires are designed for over-the-snow travel but not through feet of snow. Fortunately, with Ochs at the helm of a fat bike-specific groomer, trails should be primed for the racing, and casual riding, experience.

“Right now it’s freakin’ horrendous—80 mph winds are not conducive to good fat bike track,” says Ochs. “We’re gonna be sledneckin’ like mad the next two days.”

Ochs’ plan is to have the trail to Gothic groomed, and the courses at the North Village, town ranch and the downhill course on Gold Link groomed for the races. If all goes well, he hopes to get the trail out Brush Creek ready for the fat bike masses as well.

“The courses and Gothic are the first priority,” says Ochs. “But, if we have the time and the sleds hold up and the groomer holds up, we’ll get out Brush Creek.”

The weather forecast looks promising for the Fat Bike Worlds event weekend and with Ochs and crew out working this week and Ochs joining Alyosha Paden from Crested Butte Mountain Resort to work on the downhill course as well.

“If we can control what we got, things should be outstanding,” says Ochs. “Cold nights and cold days are looking good.”

The event is sold out and both reigning fat bike world champions are returning, along with 248 other fat bike racers. For a complete schedule and information go to