As the interest of fat bikes is continuously on the rise, so are the races that use fat bikes as a vehicle. Over the years, race organizers have planned unimaginable routes for winter ultras. These routes will test the abilities of even the most hardcore athletes. Winter ultra endurance events span to years back in the 80’s with the first ever Iditabike. Since then, these races and rides have become a staple in the adventure cycling community. We’re here to give you the run down on 11 winter ultra races that you should know about. Many of these events you must apply for in advance, and/or have qualified for by finishing another winter ultra. There also is an extensive required gear list for most of the events. Some items include a 0 degree sleeping bag, certain amount of calories, reflective fabrics, and blinkies for your safety. To put it simply, these races are not for the faint of heart.  
12 Winter Ultras That Will Test Your Limits
Photo: Thomas Woods

Tuscobia

The Tuscobia has been around since 2009, and has a fantastic reputation. Adapted in 2010, the 150 mile version is the most intriguing, but there are 75 mile and 35 mile options. The race starts and finishes in Park Falls, Wisconsin every year around the new year. If you can hang on to your summer fitness, this is a perfect event for you. Register before November 1st and save $45. Registration closes December 26th.  
12 Winter Ultras That Will Test Your Limits
Photo: Fat Pursuit FB Page

JP’s Backyard Fat Pursuit

Many of you know Jay Petervary as a badass on a bike, holding records for the Iditarod and Tour Divide. Now Jay is on the other side of the track, organizing one of the best fat bike races in the lower 48. Starting and ending in Island Park, Idaho, the Fat Pursuit is a 200k race that travels up towards the boarder of Yellowstone National Park on groomed forest service roads. Heading into it’s second year, this race has gained a lot of popularity. Registration is currently open for the January 10th event.  
Arrowhead
Photo : MPR News (Minnesota Public Radio)

Arrowhead 135

They don’t call International Falls, MN the ‘ice box of the nation’ for nothing. Last year’s start reached -20 degrees with wind chill values as low as -40. This 135 mile point-to-point race finishes at the Fortune Bay Casino, but many racers never see the finish. 84 bikers started last year, with only 30 finishing. Here is a story that gives you an idea of how difficult this race really is. Registration is closed for this year.  
Out There Shop.com
Photo: Montane.co.uk

Yukon Arctic Ultra

Pegged as the world’s coldest and toughest ultra, they may give the Arrowhead a run for their money. Way up in the Yukon, where temperatures can dip to a balmy -50 degrees (actual temp), racers will pick their poison of 100, 300, and 430 mile variations. Racers will take off on February 8th from Whitehorse, Yukon, while the 430 miles racers must finish at Dawson City within 13 days of the start. This race brings people from all over the world to take on the Yukon winters. Registration closes in May each year, so plan ahead.  
12 Winter Ultras That Will Test Your Limits
Photo: Iditasport FB Page

Iditasport

After over a decade off, the Iditasport returned last year. The 225 mile race travels on the famous Iditarod Trail, starting and ending in the historic town of Kinik, AK. The route was an out and back last year, but a new sections from Shell Lake Lodge to Yentna River will give racers some new challenging terrain. The race takes place from February 6th thru the 10th, and registrations closes December 31st.  
12 Winter Ultras That Will Test Your Limits
Photo: Communitynewscommons.org

Actif Epica

The Actif Epica is an annual event that is held on Valentine’s Day this year. The race starts in Saint Malo, Manitoba and travels 80 miles north to Winnepeg, Manitoba. Finishing times will take anywhere from 12 hours to 24 depending on conditions. The Actif Epica should be on your list. Registration is still open, and will end January 31st.  
Out There Shop.com
Photo: Susitna FB Page

Susitna 100

Since 1997 the Susitna 100 has been an iconic winter ultra taking place just outside of Anchorage, Alaska. Starting in Wasilla, AK racers will take on a clockwise loop in and around the Susitna river, and back to Wasilla, AK completing the 100 mile remote Alaskan route. Racers will take off on February 14th and will have until the 16th to complete the loop. Registrations is currently open, and ends on December 31st   rovaniemi

Rovaniemi 150

This Arctic Winter Race will have  you traveling 150 kilometers through the Finnish landscape around Laplan’s main city, Rovaneimi, where the race begins and ends. The challenge must be completed within 42 hours from the start time, which will be February 20th this year. This unique event holds a mixture of b-class roads, single lane roads, as well as crossings on frozen rivers and lakes. One unique thing to note is that there is a tandem category for the race. Get out your tandem fatty and head to Finland! Registration closes on January 31st, 2015.  
RoavvePolarUltra
polarguide-logistics.com/roavve300/

Roavve 300

The Roavve Polar Ultra 300 also takes place in Laplan, Finland. It is a 308 kilometer race to be exact, and it must be completed before the cut off time of 5 days. This holds true for all disciplines of running, skiing, or biking.  This route takes the first 150k from the Rovaniemi, and adds an additional 150k. The second half is much more remote and less marked. There are no required checkpoints in this race, only waypoints. To participate in the Roavve 300, it is required that you have finished one of the other qualifiers here. This race begins on February 21st this year and registration closes February 10th.  
12 Winter Ultras That Will Test Your Limits
Photo: ITI Facebook Page

Iditarod Trail Invitational

The grandaddy of them all, the Iditarod Trail Invitational, is the longest winter ultra coming in at 1000 miles. This race spans from Nome to Anchorage, AK following the southern route this year. To qualify, you must complete the 350 mile route which is shorter variation of the same terrain. The course last year was extremely fast, with Jeff Oatley crushing the record. The race will start on March 1st at 2pm. Registration is now closed with 37 bikers scheduled to line up in Nome. If you want to be considered for the ITI 350 mile version, you must finish one of the Iditarod Trail Invitational qualifying races.  
12 Winter Ultras That Will Test Your Limits
Photo: http://alturl.com/owt9a

White Mountains 100

The last winter ultra of the season seems to be a popular one. 155 people applied for the 65 available spots for this years race. The 100 mile loop navigates through the White Mountains in interior Alaska. This challenging route will test many riders with steep climbs that will likely result in HAB. The race starts on March 29th at 8:00am. Registration is still open, but your chances are slim as you will be at the back end of 57 folks that already are on the wait list.

6 Comments

  1. I think registration for the White Mountains 100 is still technically open, though there are currently 89 people on the waitlist, so the odds are not good. It is the best winter 100 miler out there!

  2. Two quick points:

    – Add the SnowEpic on to the list as an awesome multi-day event in Switzerland
    – Check out the five episode series on The 2014 Iditarod called Sport & Survival here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8I_XL4EZ_1DzEZ4glG9vF6yJqazFIbjJ

  3. Most challenging short winter race: Triple D! run or ski distances of 13.1, 26.2 and 50K. Bike is a little over 100K on single track and groomed trails. 8th year this January.

  4. The swiss snow epic looks like a halfhearted attempt by someone trying to cash in on the fatbike boom. Three stages riding around on a hardpacked ski area does not really sound too compelling.

  5. Check out the Homer Epic 100, has now been running for four years (fifth coming up in March 2016, Homer, Alaska). A tough course with plenty of climbing. Conditions have been different every year, and can change at the last minute. The one thing that’s been consistent are great views and great organizers. https://www.facebook.com/homerepic100

  6. A winter bike packing list would be good to see anyone got one out there top 10 things need it…

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