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Discover Top Reasons Snowmobile Trails Cannot Open Early…


Related: How To Stay On Trail In Bad Weather


Some snowmobilers seem to think that trails appear by magic – if snow arrives early, trails will be open immediately. But this is far from a reasonable expectation and here’s why…

Top Reasons Snowmobile Trails Cannot Open Early – Early Season Crapshoot

Forty years of weather/snowfall patterns and club experience clearly indicate that snow prior to Christmas will not last in many snowbelt regions. This is largely due to early season temperature fluctuations and ground/water not being frozen. So with early season melting a strong likelihood, snowmobile clubs are understandably reluctant to spend precious resources on grooming that will probably be wasted. They would rather wait until the temperature stabilizes below zero and everything freezes up so that they can pack a base that will last all season. Besides, when nothing is frozen, clubs can’t even get their groomers into many trails due to impassable swamps, bogs, creeks and washouts. What’s more, taking groomers out prematurely frequently results in costly repairs that also diverts dollars from grooming. So what would your choice be …expending scarce cash on an early snow crapshoot or saving it for prime time?

Top Reasons Snowmobile Trails Cannot Open Early – Late Opening on Private Land

When snow arrives earlier than normal, clubs also face other challenges. Land use permission for opening trails on private property may not come into effect until closer to Christmas or even after. Keeping trails closed on private land until later is especially important in farm country, where riding too early may cause crop damage or interfere with late fall farm operations or livestock. So when snow falls on agricultural land or where there are many swamps and bogs, trails located there can’t be opened early. This effectively orphans other trails and links that may be available by making them inaccessible.

Top Reasons Snowmobile Trails Cannot Open Early – Shortage of Volunteers

Another consideration is that there often aren’t enough snowmobile club volunteers to get trails properly prepped, signed and staked before early snow arrives. If the preceding summer and fall have been especially stormy and wet, club volunteers will have already been working overtime to clear away fallen debris, repair washouts and restore trail surfaces. In many locations, soft or muddy ground and open or unsafe wet areas delays their work, as does early snow. Volunteers simply cannot be expected to work any harder and from a safety perspective, clubs would be remiss in their duty of care to permit holders if they were to open trails that are not yet ready to ride.

So there’s the story, folks. That’s the consequence of dealing with Mother Nature for a seasonal activity like snowmobiling, where volunteers close trails each spring and open them again each winter. It’s like owning a summer cottage…even if summer arrives early, you can’t open it until the hydro is on, the water hooked up, the storms are removed, and the access road is passable.

So wait patiently until the volunteers get trail ready or better yet, offer to lend your club a hand to help speed things up!

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The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.


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