During my trip back to Jackson Hole, Wyo., I teamed up with freelance reporter Kelsey Dayton to cover a feature story for Wyoming Wildlife Magazine on the new trend of snow biking tours. I was a bit apprehensive at first about photographing the story; biking on dry roads can be strenuous enough for me, so I could only imagine how tough it would be riding through snow, especially while hauling photo gear. But, I decided to take a chance and try it out. We arrived at Teton Mountain Bike Tours, where we met owner David Hunger. This particular morning was unusually wet and windy, but the energy coming from David was electric; he was clearly not phased by the weather. What I’ve always loved about Jackson locals is how excited they are about everything outdoors-related. The weather was not going to stop him from giving us a fun tour. David showed us around his store, and pointed out the bikes we’d be using that morning. These tires were huge. Imagine mountain bike tires, but twice as wide and twice as tall. The bike frames are specifically designed to handle extremely wide tires, which naturally cover more surface area, making it easier to ride through the snow-covered paths. There are even studded snow bike tires available for conditions that may need some extra grip. David pointed out the areas on a map of where we would be traveling that morning, and began loading the bikes. To my surprise, the bikes were not heavy at all. My small, 115-pound frame could easily pick up the bike and lift it above my shoulders to load into the truck bed.
After a short 15-minute drive through the beautiful Gros Ventre area north of town, we pulled over and started unloading the bikes. The area was beautiful. Snow covered trees and hills sparkled as the sun peered through wispy clouds. Other than the occasional gust of heavy wind, we had picked an ideal day for the activity. Carrying a backpack full of photo gear was occasionally challenging, but the photos I came back with made it worth the struggle. The next time you head out for your annual ski trip, remember to look into a snow biking tour. It’s a phenomenal way to take in the landscapes of this winter wonderland while getting a good work out.