Regional Fat Bike Summit is Now Free as Organizers Seek to Boost Attendance

Levitation 49, hosts of the regional Fat Bike Summit in Valdez, March 18, have re-located the venue in order to be able to make the event free of charge.

The new venue for the Summit is The Fat Mermaid restaurant on the harbor in downtown Valdez. There will be no fee to attend the event but participants are still asked to register for a free ticket online.

"Alaska being the birthplace and capital of fat biking means we are expecting a very lively and engaging session," said Levitation 49 Executive Director Lee Hart. "We didn't want price to be a hurdle in to participation."

The Summit will be led by Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, Gary Sjoquist, who is arguably among the leading voices of fat bike advocacy. From 9 .m. to approximately 5 p.m., Summit participants will share information on trends, best practices, user conflict mitigation, advocacy and more. 

The Summit immediately precedes the opening night of the Chugach Fat Bike Bash, a three-day festival by and for fat bike enthusiasts in the beautiful port town of Valdez. 

New Fest in Valdez Puts a Different Spin on Fat Biking

New Fest in Valdez Puts a Different Spin on Fat Biking

Valdez, AK – Organizers of a new festival in Valdez is hoping to transform the way people think of fat biking competitions by putting an emphasis on adrenaline more than the more-common endurance-oriented races of the genre.

 The headline feature of the three-day Chugach Fat Bike Bash, March 18 - 20 is what organizers are calling the world debut of a fat freeride competition. A vertical venue on Thompson Pass is luring riders like Anchorage downhill specialist Kevin Murphy to test their riding skill on some of the steepest terrain ever biked on snow. Like the World Extreme Skiing Championships of the 90’s that put Valdez on the map as the birthplace of big mountain skiing, the Fat Freeride competition will judge riders on a combination of time, creativity, and originality of line. A cash purse of up to $2,000 is at stake, provided primarily by Copper Valley Telecom.

 “It’s like the Red Bull Rampage, a test of skill and guts. On snow” said Lee Hart, Executive Director of Levitation 49, the non-profit sports commission producing the event. “As fat bike technology evolves we’re beginning to see riders experimenting with air and inverts on fatties. This event is intended to nurture this direction of fat biking, the fastest growing segment in bicycling.”

 Other festival events leading up to the freeride comp are designed to showcase the beauty of Valdez in a carnival-like atmosphere. Costumes are strongly encouraged and fat tires are recommended but not necessary especially for the criterium and bike rodeo.

 The opening night Ursa Major Northern Lights Criterium will take place Friday night, March 18 from 9 – 10 p.m. along the Valdez harborfront. Light and reflector bedecked riders will run laps and have an opportunity to earn time credits by stopping at participating venues offering tasters of Ursa Major craft libations. Prizes for best costume and other fun categories will be awarded. The night concludes with a bonfire at Dock Point.

Saturday’s events begin with a cross-country race that will begin and end at Kelsey Dock, on the harbor. The main route is a 10-mile circuit over the river and through the woods; a shorter and easier out and back beginner route will total about 4 miles. In the afternoon, balancing skills will be on display during a Fat Bike Rodeo held at Kelsey Dock. A Bunny hop limbo, wheelie drag races, foot-down demolition derby, gap jump, and a snowy BMX track highlight Rodeo events that will conclude with a thrilling finale (details TBA). Prizes will be awarded for each event; photos should be priceless. After-party sponsored by Hoodoo Brewing is at The Fat Mermaid, official festival headquarters.

The event will be photographed and filmed for distribution on traditional media and social channels. Participants and specators are encouraged to share their pics and vids with the world by using the hashtag #fatbikebash.

Online registration is currently open for passes to the event. Same-day registration for Friday and Saturday events is $10 for the crit and xc race; $5 per rodeo event or $10 for the full rodeo. Entry to the freeride competition isfor experienced riders comfortable with off-piste riding. For complete event details and online discounted registration visit

The Chugach Fat Bike Bash is a production of Levitation 49, a non-profit sports commission dedicated to promoting mountain sports culture in Valdez. Proceeds from the event support L49 projects.

Valdez Hosts Regional Fat Bike Summit March 18

Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Gary Sjoquist comes to Valdez March 18.

Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Gary Sjoquist comes to Valdez March 18.


VALDEZ, AK – Trends and best practices will be the focus of a Regional Fat Bike Summit here March 18 led by Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and leading national fat bike advocate Gary Sjoquist.

The Summit is designed to bring together retailers, manufacturers, non-profits, trail builders and state and local parks and land use managers to learn and share information and success stories about the fastest growing sector of the cycling industry.

The Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Valdez Civic Center, 110 Clifton Court, overlooking Prince William Sound. Registration, which includes lunch, is just $25. 

Levitation 49, the new non-profit sports commission in Valdez, organizes the Summit. The Summit is followed immediately by the opening night of the Inaugural Chugach Fat Bike Bash, a fun-filled weekend of races and competitions. The festival will mark the world debut of the Fat Freeride World Championships.

The event brings to life a two-year-old dream by Levitation 49 Executive Director Lee Hart. “The Fat Free Worlds is designed to shine a spotlight on the emerging gravity-fed adrenaline side of a sport that, until now, has mostly focused on endurance events.”

Complete information about the Summit, Fat Bike Bash, lodging in Valdez and online registration can be found on the Chugach Fat Bike Bash website,