My Buddies KHS is 2x9 too, I'm not too crazy about 1 by for just trail riding. 1 by is better if you are going 30mph on a rough trail or in a xc race where front ring shifting can cause an issue, but I'm just out for a brisk ride these days and a wide chain and wide spaced gears is pretty cheap and reliable. I sort of thought about upgrading my old trail bike to the box 1 by 9 system but really I determined I want better frame geometry over drivetrain mods so I'm waiting for the right bike to come up used or new. Something like a Kona Big Honzo 27.5+ hard tail or maybe full suspension 27.5+ trail bike.That's an awesome bit of riding!
My Pugs is 2 x 9, as is my wife's Charge Cooker Max, but the newer bikes have gone to 1x drivetrains.
The Pugs has an interesting bend in the one chainstay to allow the chain to clear the tire. As well, the Surly Mr Whirly crank/chain-ring assembly has an interesting configuration which basically pushes the inner (22T) ring out to where the middle one would normally be, and the outer (32T?) ring out to where the outer ring would be on a 3x drivetrain. Works well, but the unit is discontinued, so at some point I'll replace the whole thing with a 1x.
We went over to studded tires for winter riding a few years ago, and they are great! Highly recommended!
@NYEngineer is BITOG's fat bike authority - he will give you some great advice on getting the most bang for your buck with upgrades.