Winter is almost here – but given the date of the winter solstice we’re already well on the way to experiencing the longest nights and shortest days. But is winter a bad thing? They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. The fact is, all around Australia winter means something very different. Up in south east Queensland winter means dry trails and lower humidity. In other areas it means serious winter clothing and high-powered lights. Some of Australia’s best trails aren’t even accessible in winter, and instead they have a hibernation period until we can get onto them in late spring and early summer once their blanket of snow has melted. I find riding in winter is really motivating. The crisp air, quiet trails and soft light has me more motivated than lathering on sunscreen and sweating it out during the peak of summer. And in January I put that to the ultimate test, travelling from a hot and humid Brisbane to Gstaad in Switzerland, for an event that took place on snow. While the conditions were temperate, moving a few degrees around zero, it was a shock to the system. Beyond that, it was also a completely new experience, riding a bike in the snow took a totally new skill set compared to riding trails at home. The challenge sent me tumbling way down the skills ladder and working back to basics with new approaches to steering, braking and positioning on the bike. And it was totally worth it. Even on the other side of the world, padded up in winter gear and riding on a completely different surface, the reward was just the same. The laughter shared and post-ride banter was just as good. You can find the full story later in this issue. So what does winter mean for you? If it normally cuts your riding time, what can you do to extend it again? Why not invest in some lights and throw an extra layer on? As they say, you never regret a ride. We’re lucky to live in one of the best climates for winter mountain biking (sorry Tasmania) but cold mornings can make it hard to get started. Get out and pedal, enjoy quieter trails and cooler temperatures and I guarantee the trail buzz will still reward you. Go ahead, embrace winter!