It was a brisk day on Dec. 10 when Trevor Sowers and his dog, Finnie, took a winter bike ride on the trails near Houston Secondary and Twain Sullivan Elementary schools. Temperature was minus 17, but that didn’t stop these two from bundling up and getting a work out in that they could enjoy outside.
Winter trail biking is an old activity in Houston that has recently found more interest, especially for those like Sowers that own fat bikes, which are specifically designed to take on terrain covered in snow or sand.
There aren’t any formal groups that get together to take out their fat bikes for a ride, but Sowers says that between BurnsLake, Houston, and Smithers there are individuals that get out to use their local trails.
“In Smithers I know the Bluff Trails system is being actively used for biking. In Burns [Lake] the Boer Mountain trails are being used too,” said Sowers.
Sowers says that the biggest challenge right now for those in Houston interested in winter trail biking is having trails to ride where the snow is compact.
Sowers has been in contact with the Morice Mountain Ski club at possibly doing a trial run on the dog trails, so that the club can see how the fat bike’s tracks affect the groomed trails and assess whether in the future they can amend their insurance to allow bike users to buy a membership.
A trial run has not been set or agreed upon yet.
“At this time we will not be permitting bikes during the winter season, but invite the mountain bike club to plan ahead with us to accommodate the interest. A lot of our work on upgrading the trails will benefit the bikes in the summer. The snowshoe trails are likely to be upgraded for single track summer use and perhaps winter fat bike use,” commented Greg Yeomans,president of the Morice Mountain Ski club.
The Houston Mountain Bike Association has been working diligently on getting the trials on Mount Harry Davis in prime shape for bikers to use this winter.
“In order for the fat bikes to succeed in the winter, we also need snowshoers to pack the trail for them. Next year we will be able to do some of the wider sections with a snowmobile. But not all the trails are wide enough for grooming especially along the ridge,” said Miake Elliot, director of the Houston Mountain Bike Association.
The Sticks and Stones trial on Mount Harry Davis is the ideal run for bikers to ride and snowshoers to hike. So if you’ve got a pair of snow shoes kicking around, and want to help other winter recreation users in the community access these trails for biking, go take a hike.