A mountain biker rounds the curves on a trail at a Moab Thaw Bike Event. This year's Thaw will run from Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8. [Courtesy photo]

Billy Snyder isn’t waiting for the first official day of spring to arrive before he helps kick Moab’s active season into gear.

From Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8, he’s bringing mountain bikers together with bike shops, outfitters, instructors and vendors for three days of trail rides, skills clinics and much more at this year’s Thaw Bike Event.

Snyder – a sales manager with chief event sponsor Poison Spider Bicycles – is hoping that Thaw 2015 will be bigger and better than ever before.

“It’s more of the same stuff we’ve had going on, with about twice as many vendors,” he said.

This year, registered participants can ride along with national bike industry legends on the famed Mag 7 trails in the Gemini Bridges area, and they’ll likely bump shoulder to shoulder with some surprise guests.

“We always get some random people there that I wasn’t expecting,” Snyder said.

In the more distant past, riders could tag along for free, but Snyder emphasizes that this year’s event is open to registered pass-holders only.

“It’s not just a free-for-all like it was five or six years ago,” he said.

For this year’s Thaw, Snyder and Poison Spider teamed up with Rim Tours, Magpie Cycling, Solfun Mountain Bike Tours, Porcupine Shuttle, Moab Mountain Bike Instruction and others. Moab Mountain Bike Instruction co-owner and instructor Sylvi Fae said she appreciates their efforts to reach out to everyone.

“I love how they’re trying to get other bike companies (and the community) involved,” she said.

As for the event itself, Fae calls it the perfect warm-up for the rest of the year.

“It’s a great kickoff to the season,” she said. “It gets everybody excited and ready again.”

The Thaw officially begins at noon on March 6 with a ladies-only, clinic-style ride. Participants who have registered in advance should meet at noon at Poison Spider Bicycles, which is located at 497 N. Main St. At that point, they will split into intermediate, advanced and expert groups, and then head off for instructional rides at the Moab Brand Trails north of town.

Moab Mountain Bike Instruction, Magpie Cycling and Solfun Mountain Bike Tours will all be there to teach mountain biking skills, and to lead mountain bike rides for all abilities.

From Fae’s experiences, it’s a great area for women’s skills riders to work on obstacles, corners and technical descents.

“The Moab Brands Trails are a pretty awesome place because there’s so much variety,” she said.

Magpie Cycling owner Maggie Wilson agrees.

“There are a plethora of different trails out there that cater to different skill sets and interests,” she said.

Event registration will continue all day on March 6 at Poison Spider; participants can also drop by the Love Muffin at 5 p.m. that afternoon for a meet-and-greet. (The Love Muffin is located at 139 N. Main St.)

For many Thaw-goers, the main event kicks off on Saturday, March 7, when the first of two daylong mountain bike demos gets under way at the Moab Brand Trails area.

Rim Tours will be providing coffee and donuts from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and the demo itself will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Snyder said that Thaw participants can expect to catch their first glimpses of the industry’s newest products – including the latest “fat bike” models – at the demo. Shimano, Trek, Dakine and many other vendors will also be handing out free swag.

“We have awesome support from all of our manufacturers,” he said. “We’ve got a ton of stuff to give away … I’m getting boxes of things every day.”

After they’ve had a chance to wander around the demo, participants can head off at noon on the 26-mile Legends group ride down the Mag 7 Trail system.

Later that night, they can relax – or celebrate – during a Thaw party at the Gravel Pit Lanes bowling alley. Hors d’oeuvres and giveaways will be available, and partygoers can also join in a silent auction to help raise money for Grand County Trail Mix and Grand County High School’s mountain biking program.

The Thaw hasn’t been a big moneymaker in the past, but Snyder said he wants to do more for those two groups in particular.

“I’m hoping to provide consistent support for these organizations,” he said.

The next morning, Thaw-goers can return to the Moab Brands area for a “Dakine biscuit and gravy breakfast” catered by the Love Muffin; the mountain bike demo will resume at 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 8 and continue through 5 p.m.

The Magpie Cycling / SOLFUN team of certified instructors will also be offering focused skills instruction and trail rides for intermediate and advanced riders at the Moab Brands Trails on March 8.

Wilson is hoping that traction on the trails will be perfect. But she reminds riders about the importance of preserving fragile soils and keeping the singletrack single in the event that moisture is still lingering around, following recent precipitation.

“If the trails are wet and muddy, we will absolutely avoid them,” she said.

Riders can follow proper trail etiquette, she said, by dismounting their bikes and walking gingerly past muddy sections to minimize impacts on delicate soils.

For more information about Thaw 2015, call 800-635-1792, or go to moabthaw.com/site/event-schedule/.

Mountain bike event returns to Moab on March 6-8


It’s a great kickoff to the season … It gets everybody excited and ready again.

What: Moab Thaw 2015

When: Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 8

Where: Event locations vary; for more information, or to register, call 800-635-1792, or go to moabthaw.com/site/event-schedule/

Cost: $69 to register