By Bill Harby
As if Switzerland isn’t already an embarrassment of winter wonderland sport riches, now we have another one. It’s called fatbiking or, for the politically correct, snowbiking.
The tyres on these muscular mountain bikes are – surprise – fat, with deep treads to grip snowy ski runs and trails. This style of bike originated in the U.S. about 15 years ago, but has only fairly recently found footing here in Europe.
In January, Gstaad will host the Snow Bike Festival. There you can see the world’s best bikers shredding packed snow and shaving fresh powder on the pistes and trails.
But now anyone can try fatbiking at most alpine resorts around Switzerland. You can even rent fatbikes with bright coloured tyres that stand out attractively in the snow when you crash into that pretty snow bank. There are also fatbicycles built for two.
After some thrill and spill practice and a bruise or two to your bum and ego, you’ll soon be slip-sliding along downhill on the pistes and trails. Fatbikes work going uphill too, if you want to burn some of your own fat.
Meanwhile, the Swiss winter is still full of other more tried-and-true forms of fun, from skiing, skating and sledging (“sledding” in American English), to hockey and snowshoe hiking. For expat families from warmer climes it’s easy to break the ice with beginner lessons at almost every winter resort.
The next Gstaad fatbiking event is from 17-19 January 2020.