Discover Top Reasons Snowmobile Trails Cannot Open Early…


Related: How To Stay On Trail In Bad Weather


Some snowmobilers often think that trails appear by magic. If snow arrives early, trails will open immediately. But this is far from a reasonable expectation. Here’s why…

Top Reasons Snowmobile Trails Cannot Open Early – Early Season Crapshoot

Fifty years of weather/snowfall patterns and club experience prove it. Snow prior to Christmas will not last in many snowbelt regions. This result 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 premature grooming.

A better alternative is to wait until the temperature stabilizes below zero. And for everything to freeze up so that they can pack a durable base to last all season. Besides, when the ground isn’t frozen, clubs can’t even get their groomers into many trails. This circumstance occurs thanks to impassable swamps, bogs, creeks and washouts. What’s more, taking groomers out prematurely frequently results in costly repairs.

This only unnecessarily diverts dollars from future 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 gets delayed until closer to Christmas or even after. Keeping trails closed on private land until later is especially important in farm country. Here, 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 many swamps and bogs exist, trails located there can’t open early. This creates a domino effect situation. It effectively orphans other trails and makes many links unavailable due to inaccessibility.

Top Reasons Snowmobile Trails Cannot Open Early – Shortage of Volunteers

Another consideration is that there often aren’t enough snowmobile club volunteers. Volunteers get trails properly prepped, signed and staked before early snow arrives. If the preceding summer and fall are especially stormy and wet, club volunteers are already 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 delay their work. So does early snow. We simply cannot expect existing volunteers to work any harder. And from a safety perspective, clubs cannot overlook their duty of care to permit holders by opening trails when they are not yet ready to ride.

So there’s the story, folks. That’s the consequence of dealing with Mother Nature. Especially 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 removed, and the access road passable.

So wait patiently until the volunteers get trails ready. Or better yet, offer to lend your club a hand to help speed things up! And before trails do become available, take the pledge to always follow the Code of Conduct for riding on private property.


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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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