Winter fatbike ultra event and registration dates are posted for most of next year's events in our region. If you're new to winter ultras or are curious about taking on one of these challenges, check out the races overviews and important dates below.
Winter fat bike ultras quite possibly take more planning and preparation than any other cycling discipline. On top of race planning, you'll generally need to also complete a qualifying event in order to just register, to demonstrate that you have the experience and physical ability to compete in sub-zero temperates for days at a time with no support.
Here we outline the 5 regional winter fatbike ultra races, their registration dates, qualifying events, as well as a few bonus events just for fun.
Never Done a Winter Ultra Before?
We recently put together a 3-part "Introduction to Winter Fatbike Ultras" series with Jamison Swift where you can learn all about resources, races, gear, risks, how to stay warm and plan the food you'll need to bring.
Part 1: Races, Risks, & Resources
If you're brand new to winter fatbike ultras, the St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra is the perfect place to start. It's a shorter course that takes place overnight and requires you to carry (and practice using) the same gear you'll need for longer races like Arrowhead, Tuscobia, and more. Then if you have dreams of completing a race like Arrowhead, check out our resource, "What Does It Take to Complete Arrowhead 135" where we hear from 4 incredible athletes who have raced and completed it a combined 30 times.
Here is a list of our region's winter fatbike ultras, their race dates, and registrations dates you'll want to put in your calendar. If you wait until winter to register, you'll be too late as most winter events have registration open in August or September and fill up fast.
Make sure to do your research and get familiar with any relevant qualifying events you'll need to complete as well as required gear.
St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra - Hinckley, MN
Race Date: Jan 13-14, 2024
Registration Date: August 15, 2023
The St. Croix 40 is a short course winter ultra for those who are curious about longer winter ultras in the spirit of the Arrowhead 135 or Tuscobia 160.
Participants travel roughly 40 miles through St. Croix State Park on foot, ski, or fat bike, carrying all essential survival gear through a cold Minnesota night.
Not only will you need to traverse the 40-mile course distance, but you will also need to prove that you can utilize your survival gear at two different points in the race. These skill tests will help prepare you for bigger challenges in the future.
Arrowhead 135 - International Falls, MN
Race Dates: Jan 29-31, 2024
Registration Date: September 1, 2023
The Arrowhead 135 is an ultra-endurance race that takes place in International Falls, Minnesota. It's a non-stop, self-supported race, where participants have to carry all their equipment and supplies for the duration of the race, including food, water, and shelter. The race follows the Arrowhead State Trail from International Falls, Minnesota to Tower, Minnesota, a distance of approximately 135 miles.
It takes place in the dead of winter when temperatures can drop to well below zero degrees and blizzard conditions are not uncommon.
Participants can choose to compete on foot, on a bike, or on skis, and they have up to 60 hours to complete the race. The race is known for being one of the toughest winter ultras in the world.
Qualifying activities for bikers:
Finishing 24 hour bike race, with minimum of 100 miles completed for off-road, or 200 miles on road.
A race in winter conditions improves your odds of being selected and surviving.
Tuscobia Winter Ultra - Rice Lake, WI
Race Dates: Usually Around Last Week of December
Registration Date: August 1, 2023
The Tuscobia Winter Ultra is a run, bike or ski event held on the Tuscobia State Trail in Northern Wisconsn in the middle of winter between Rice Lake and a few miles east of Park Falls, WI. Participants can compete in the 160-mile or 80-mile event.
160-mile participants must have previously completed one of the following events:
Tuscobia 160/150/80/75 mile
Arrowhead 135 mile
Iditarod Trail Invitational (any distance)
Actif Epica (any distance)
Fat Pursuit 200 km / mile
Frozen Otter 64 mile
Susitna 100 mile
White Mountains 100 mile
Yukon 100/300 mile
6633 Arctic Ultra
Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic
Rovaniemi 150/300 km
The Drift 100
Polar Roll Winter Ultra - Upper Peninsula, MI
Race Dates: Feb 19, 2024
Registration Date: Nov 5, 2023
2023 was the first year of the Polar Roll Winter Ultra. As such, you can expect some similarities from the first year as well as a few enhancements coming into year two for 2024. Here is the description from the inaugural year: The ultimate U.P. fat bike experience. Here’s what we can share: It’s going to be at least 100-miles. The course will utilize a variety of groomed and not groomed surfaces. A required gear list will be available no later than 12.01.2022. Tracking beacons will be provided – participants will be required to use one. Family and friends will be able to keep tabs on your real-time progress online. Participants should be fully prepared to be self-supported. Spots will be limited to 50 participants.
The course will traverse remote tracts of land and trail inaccessible to anyone not on a snowmobile. The weather is notoriously unpredictable and dangerous. We will reserve the right to vet registrations as they are received. Gordon Gearheart will be commissioned to create a finishers award worthy of the effort required to finish.
Green Bay Winter Ultra 100 - Green Bay, WI
Race Dates: Jan 6 - Mar 9, 2024
Registration Date: Oct 1, 2023
The Green Bay Winter Ultra is a choose-your-own-date event where you will have just over one month to complete the 100 mile course. The ultra must be ridden in 18 hours or less and on a fat bike with a tire width of at least 3.8″. 2023 was the first year of the event and the trail systems the event used in 2023 were Reforestation Camp, He Nis Ra Park, Baird Creek, Green Bay Country Club, Ledgeview Golf Course, and Hilly Haven Golf Course.
BONUS: Actif Epica - Manitoba, Canada
Race Dates: Usually in Feb 16-18, 2024
Applications Open: Early Fall, 2023
Actif Epica is an annual winter ultra race held in Manitoba, Canada that challenges endurance athletes to cover long distances on foot, bike or skis in cold and snowy conditions. The race takes place along the historic Crow Wing Trail, covering distances of 50km, 115km, and 230km Participants must face a range of terrain and weather conditions as they make their way through remote and rugged terrain. The race typically takes place in February, with start and finish points varying depending on the distance category.
BONUS: Iditarod Trail Invitational Alaska
Race Dates: Feb 25, 2024
Applications Open: April 1, 2023
The race follows the historic Iditarod Trail, which spans over 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome. Participants can choose to race on foot, skis, or fat bike, and must navigate through some of the harshest and most remote terrain in the world, including snow-covered mountains, frozen rivers, and wind-swept tundra. The race is entirely self-supported, meaning that competitors must carry all of their own equipment and supplies, and are not allowed to receive any outside assistance. The Iditarod Trail Invitational is widely considered to be one of the most challenging and demanding ultra-endurance events in the world, and requires a combination of physical toughness, mental resilience, and expert backcountry skills to complete.
ITI 350 eligibility: To be eligible to apply for the ITI 350, athletes must have 2 finishes in designated qualifying events and/or significant specific winter athletic experience.
ITI Winter Camp - Alaska, United States
Actif Epica 100 mile or 200 km - Manitoba, Canada
Arrowhead 135 mile - Minnesota, United States
Fat Pursuit 200 km or 200 mile - Idaho, United States
Fat Camp 5-day - Idaho, United States
The Drift 100 - Wyoming, United States
Fat Viking 150 km - Norway
Rovaniemi 300 km - Finland
Susitna 100 mile - Alaska, United States
Tuscobia Winter Ultra 160 mile - Wisconsin, United States
White Mountains 100 mile - Alaska, United States
Yukon Arctic Ultra 100; 300; 430 mile - Yukon, Canada
ITI 1000 eligibility: Competitors must complete the ITI 350 at least once and demonstrate a mastery of winter survival skills and self-reliance in the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness before applying for the ITI 1000