Fat of the Land

Turns out, roosting corners is fun in any element. With short days and long nights, there’s plenty of time for evening shenanigans on the trails of Empire 47. CANON, 1/3200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320

Fat of the Land Quebec's Rising Empire of Snow

On a beautiful March afternoon, Christian Déry and Catherine Roy are standing by the patio fire pit beside the welcome center of Empire 47, a four-season trail center just outside of Quebec City.

They chat with local fatbikers while washing down grilledcheese sandwiches with a tasty local brew. The patio is packed with winter cyclists coming and going from snow rides on their bright-orange fatbike rentals.

The couple, in their 40s, owns the biggest chunk of private land around Quebec City: 1,350 acres, now crisscrossed by the trails of Empire 47, known locally as E47. Both help to run the nonprofit organization that oversees E47’s development, with Déry serving as the director and Roy working as the accountant and a board member. Today, though, they’re taking a break from their busy routine to ride bikes with two of their five children—sharing the spoils of an unorthodox trajectory that has made E47 one of the world’s most popular fatbike destinations.

“It’s the story of nutty people doing nutty things,” Déry says.

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