Brooke Scatchard spends summers building mountain bike trails and his winters riding his invention, the ski bike. This month, he started selling the his Fat Bike Ski at fatbikeskis.com
There is a segment in the Warren Miller film, Here, There, and Everywhere, where Brooke Scatchard, 35, makes an unscheduled appearance. Scatchard, a professional trail builder from Morrisville, Vt. was in Crested Butte, Colo. when he was spotted riding his fat bike skis by the film crew. That segment helped launch the Fat Bike Ski business.
Where would we, could we, be on a chairlift right now?
As of now, no alpine resorts allow fat bike skis that I know of. That’s too bad since these can go pretty well downhill if it’s not too steep—and uphill. I once rode my fat bike ski 40 miles from Charlotte to Bolton Valley. But they’re really best at Nordic ski areas.
How did you come up with the idea for the Fat Bike Ski?
I started racing mountain bikes when I was 14, skied on the high school Nordic ski team and was really into metal work, so this sort of combined all three passions. I came up with the first design as my senior project at Champlain Valley Union high school. I made a prototype in shop class and applied for a patent. Interestingly enough, when I was researching the patent I found a design for a British “ice-velocipede” from the 1890s.
How does the Fat Bike Ski work?
It’s a much flowier, smoother ride than a regular fat bike. The ski is on a double articulated attachment so you can both turn it and it can go up on edge and carve like a regular ski. I started out using snow blades but now have a short, wide ski custom built for this. The beauty of it is the attachment can fit onto most regular fat bike forks and it’s pretty easy to swap out a front tire. The only difference: there are no front brakes.
How did the Warren Miller film segment happen?
I was in Crested Butte for the Fat Bike Worlds and these guys saw me riding in powder and asked me if they could film. The Warren Miller crew started calling me Cinderella because I was pretty much an unknown and suddenly I’m showing up in their film.
Have you had a lot of orders since then?
There’s been a waiting list now, but we’re gearing up our website and in production. It’s on sale for about $775 (to $875) now and we’re taking orders
Is trail-building still your primary business?
That’s what my partner Mariah Keagy and I do all summer. She does a lot of the design and I have two other employees. We started out building the trails behind Norwich University, a full network we designed on an abandoned ski area with about 6 miles of trails, including a flow trail. We’ve built a pump track in Putney, the new Connector trail at Stowe’s Cady Hill and in the summer of 2016 we built Evolution, a two-mile up and down trail in the Mad River Valley.
What other trails have you been working on?
We’ve also been working on new trails near Kent Pond in the town of Killington and an entrance build near Perry Hill in Waterbury. We’re also building a flow trail at Grafton Ponds and, hopefully, and the downhill trail network for Suicide Six.
What does it cost to build a mountain bike trail?
With machines, it’s about $30,000 per mile of trail. Most people do a mile or two per year. Hand-built is a little more.
You still have time to ride?
Yeah, the only time I don’t ride is when trails are muddy—and I hope others don’t either because it ruins my trails.
Featured photo caption: Brooke Scatchard chases fresh snow in Vermont on his fat bike ski. Photo by Ryan Thibault.
Last updated 12/19/18.