In the best of circumstances, the winter months simply mean a slightly cooler summer and respite from the scorching sun. However, that’s really only the case in the far southern regions, and most of the northern hemisphere experiences winter as an uninvited blanket of cold, white stuff. Snow isn’t the most forgiving trail surface—it’s not the kind of moisture that makes dirt tacky and perfect. Instead, it’s like a kryptonite for bike tires, an anti-traction if you will. It keeps the knobs from biting into dirt, but as soon as you fall it gracefully slides away to reveal the cold, hard terra firma below.

For some, the arrival of frozen precipitation spells the end of the riding season. For others, like Youn Deniaud in France, the changing trail conditions are just an excuse to practice two-wheel drifts and tire slides over rollers.