February 3, 2016 – Draper, Utah – ThinAir Cycles in partnership with Draper City has been working this winter to groom trails for fat biking in Corner Canyon. We caught up with Mike Rossberg, owner of ThinAir, and asked him about the effort.
CU: How did the trail grooming idea come to be (who did you work with, what approval did you need)?
ThinAir: This idea is a labor of love. I’ve been enjoying winter cycling in Corner Canyon for years. Before fat bikes, we would see how far into the winter we could keep riding before the snow was too deep. Even with a fat bike, I was always frustrated after a nice snow storm that it could take a good week of “hike-a-bike” workouts to pack the trails out so they would actually be ridable and enjoyable.
I pitched the idea to groom the trails to the Draper City Trails Committee in October of 2015. They were supportive of the idea but it had run its approval process through the city. By the first week in December we were good to groom with the approval of the City Council and the signature of the Mayor. Did you know the Mayor, Troy Walker, rides a fat bike year round?
CU: What trails are you grooming in Corner Canyon? Tell us about these trails. (Name, short description, difficulty, length)
ThinAir: Thin Air Cycles has been approved to groom about 7 miles the following trails:
Canyon Hollow – From Carolina Hills TH to the top (Peakview Trail TH) 2.7 miles Moderate
Ann’s Trail – From Peakview TH to Potato Hill TH 2.2 miles Moderate
Potato Hill / BST – From Potato Hill TH to Coyote TH 1.5 miles Moderate
Silica Pit – Coyote TH to Canyon Hollow. .4 miles Easiest
CU: Who does the grooming, and what do you groom the trails with?
ThinAir: The grooming is performed on a volunteer basis by Thin Air Cycles. I groom the trails with an old snowmobile and a home made grooming attachment. The groomer has a handlebar attachment so my son, Griffin, can stand on the groomer for additional weight. I’ve solicited help from friends to pre-pack and dig out drifts. Ann’s trail has some very exposed areas that build up large drifts after windy snow storms. We try to groom in the evenings to avoid traffic on the trails and the trails firm up better overnight.
CU: Anything more that you’d like to add?
ThinAir: Grooming is fun but more work then one might thing and more work than I estimated. I didn’t anticipate 18″ of snow on my first day of grooming on Dec 14th. The first groom of the season I spend hours building sections of the trail so it would be wide enough for the snowmobile. My biggest fear was having the snowmobile slide off a narrow off camber section of trail. The trails are tight and in some spots barely wide enough to fit the front skis of the snowmobile. There are 11 turns on my grooming loop (Ann’s, Canyon Hollow, Potato Hill) that are too sharp for the snowmobile. This requires a dismount and physically drag the snowmobile around the turn. I was getting more of a workout the first month of grooming than I was from actually riding my bike. It was discouraging at first to lay down a nice layer of corduroy with the groomer only to have a runner come an hour later and chew up the trail. It’s the nature of the beast and I’ve learned that it takes a few days for trail firm up after a storm. The snowmobile and groomer are only part of having good trail. It takes consistent bike traffic after a groom to get a solid compacted trail. The upper trails still take a few days after a snowfall and grooming to become solid. You can follow my grooming reports and trail conditions on my Instagram feed “ThinairCycles”
In the Salt Lake valley, ThinAir, GoRide, Canyon, Saturday Cycles, Salt Cycles and Bingham Cyclery all rent and sell fat bikes.
Contact information on these shops can be found here: