With most winter sports, you’re more likely to have a good experience if you check the maintenance condition of the trails before heading out. Fatbike trails, which have to be groomed, are no exception. Here’s some information to help you plan your outings.
HOW DOES GROOMING WORK?
There are two kinds of trails: single track and double track. These latter include the P’tit Train du Nord and the multifunctional trail. They are maintained by a grooming machine.
The single track trails are first packed down by snowshoeing and then widened with a shovel. About 25 cm of snow is needed to cover the ice of autumn, the roots and the rocks. As soon as there’s enough snow, out comes the snowmobile grooming machine. If all goes well, it takes about two hours to tour the full network of trails. If winds have been high, sometimes the groomer has to get out a shovel to allow the snowmobile to pass.
WHO SHARES THE TRAILS ?
Double-track trails are shared with cross-country skiers. On one side there are the twin parallel tracks for classic skiing and on the other, nice corduroy for skate skiing. It’s this latter that should be used. You’ll have to cross the classic tracks; it’s inevitable. When you do, try to cross at a perpendicular (90°, or a right angle) to avoid damaging them too much. Don’t forget that it’s easier for you to brake than it is for them, so be courteous and give them the right-of-way.
Some single-track trails are shared with snowshoers. We like them a lot cause they help pack down the snow.
Walkers without snowshoes, however, damage the surface in a way that’s hard to repair. Suggest they try a better experience. Maybe they don’t know it, but winter walking is allowed on the P’tit Train du Nord and on some trails in Domaine Saint-Bernard. No walking allowed on the multifunctional, but now there’s a nice trail on Le Géant golf course, starting from Tremblant Resort.
WHEN ARE CONDITIONS AT THEIR BEST?
First off, the harder the snow, the better. If it’s cold, that’s good. One small hiccup: dry snow softens the surface and makes traction more difficult. Wet snow hardens faster when it’s cold. If it’s warm, however, the snow changes to sugar snow and there again, traction becomes quite a challenge. In these situations, avoid steep slopes where you need good traction to get up the slope.
After a snowfall, double-track trails will provide good conditions more quickly than single, because the machinery used is heavier than on the other trails.
Grooming is usually done at night, which is why trails are closed then. Please note that if you set out on your fatbike too soon after the groomer does its work, you don’t give the surface time to harden.
WHERE SHOULD I START OUT?
Single-track trails are easily accessed from the Village, the Resort or the tourist office located at the intersection of montée Ryan and rue Labelle (which boasts a traffic circle now, but used to be called “the four corners”…and sometimes still is).
From the Village, take rue Séguin. The La Truite trail is on your left, just after the entrance to Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
From the Resort, take the multifunctional trail before meeting up with the Chouette Sud on your right, or on your left, the Pékan which leads to the Lynx.
From the “four corners”, there are options on the east side and west side of montée Ryan so as to avoid Villa Bellevue (double track).
Double-track trails are available starting from the Village, the Resort, the four corners, “centre-ville“ and even La Belle golf course and Le Maître golf course.
Let’s just note here that you don’t have to like mountain biking to appreciate the single-track trails. With its oversize tires, the fatbike provides better stability. And of course, the rocks and roots are covered by the snow.
WHAT’S WHERE IN THE TRAIL NETWORK?
- Cachée, both directions
- Grand Pic, starting from the Jackrabbit Bridge
- Les Pins Ouest, leaving from the Diable
- Chouette Sud, on the Belvédère side
- Belvédère, from the multifunctional trail
Beside a river
- Diable, Lynx, Sciotte
The most beautiful view
- Chouette Sud
The musts for trying single-track trails
- Labyrinthe and Les Pins Est are the flattest
- La Lynx runs beside the multifunctional trail so you can ride back on it easily if you prefer to do so.
Make sure that somebody knows your planned itinerary, particularly in winter. Cold prevents come phones from working. Always bring along a bottle of hot water to be sure that it doesn’t freeze.
ADVICE FROM THE “HEAD GROOMER”: PHILIPPE POIRIER, CYBERCYCLE
Traction is the key to success on the upward slopes. If you push suddenly and too hard on your pedals or if you stand up on your pedals, you decrease the pressure on your tires and don’t stick to the snow. Remain seated, lower your centre of gravity and stay centred to create equal pressure on your two tires. Pedal slowly but surely.
Be careful braking, too. Avoid blocking the tires to keep better control. What’s more, careful braking does less damage to the trails.
As seen in Tremblant Express journal, January 2018.