By Jessianne Wright EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – Biking in the snow with over-sized tires, popularly called fat biking, was ushered in this season with Global Fat Bike Day on Dec. 2. The event was recognized by area biking groups, as well as Grand Targhee Resort.

Locally, the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association hosted an evening ride Dec. 2, which may have been the first fat ride of the winter season for some participants. The group left from MAP Brewing at 7:30 p.m. and toured the north side of Bozeman’s trails beneath an almost-full moon.

At Grand Targhee Resort, fat bike riding was celebrated Dec. 2 with a free two-hour demo bike rental from Teton Mountain Outfitters, and Habitat High Altitude Provisions in Driggs offered free fat bike demos as well.

This winter Grand Targhee will offer nearly 10 miles of groomed Nordic trails, and over 7 miles of groomed single-track trails for biking.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, Grand Targhee hosted the first of their annual fat bike races. A second race on Jan. 20 will be held on Hamster Loop and Jolly Green Giants plus the lower ski runs at the resort, amounting to an 8-mile lap or 16-mile loop. This second race is held in the evening and competitors are required to bring a light for their bike. There is no pre-registration for either race. Visit grandtarghee.com to learn more.

Another not-to-miss series of races in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem this winter includes a 60-kilometer backcountry race on Saturday, Dec. 16, that starts in Island Park, Idaho. This event is the first of three races in the Fat Pursuit Series. Later races get longer, and Jan. 5-7 competitors will bike their choice of 200 kilometers or 200 miles.

For each of the competitions in the Fat Pursuit Series, competitors will pedal just outside of Yellowstone National Park, beginning in Island Park and weaving between lodgepole pines, across historic Yellowstone fire burns, and along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. For more information visit fatpursuit.com.

Closer to home, the annual Mad Wolf Winter Relay will test competitors in a variety of outdoor activities, including fat biking. The event returns to Big Sky this year on Feb. 24. A revival of a popular local race enjoyed in the ’70s and ’80s, this relay includes skiing at Big Sky Resort, running local trails, and riding a fat bike across Lone Mountain Ranch. Visit bssef.com to learn more.