Monthly Archives: March 2014


First a quick trail update. We are expecting even more snow this week so we anticipate that the trails will once again be spectacular all weekend. It looks like temps will start creeping up into the 40′s on Sunday but the base is so good you won’t have to worry. Enjoy what may be the last weekend of riding.

As the snowmobile season draws to a close, I look back on the year and wonder what I could have done differently. One of the things I always look at is whether or not I used my brief winter window wisely. Officially, the snowmobile trails in Minnesota are open from December 1st through March 31st. This leaves you with four months of snowmobiling- weather permitting. Best-case scenario you get roughly 16 weekends to ride. Inevitably some sort of family event always crops up and limits your time even further, add in the fact that some of us feel the need to torture ourselves with horrible Vikings games every Sunday and you’ve lost even more quality riding time. I am lucky because my “job” for requires me to “work” every weekend, so all of my friends and family know what I will be doing every winter, but most snowmobilers are not that lucky. How many times have you been sitting somewhere thinking to yourself “I should be riding right now but instead I’m doing this?” We have all been there and some things cannot be avoided, but others can. Over the years, I have developed a system that can help the average snowmobiler maximize their saddle time.

1. LET EVERYONE KNOW YOU ARE A SNOWMOBILER: Most people have some sort of passion or obsession and their friends and family are usually aware of it. Take for instance a Green Bay Packers fan. All true Packers fans are good at one thing- letting everyone on earth know how much they love the Packers. Walk into the home of any Packers fan and you will see an assortment of Green Bay Packers hand towels and beer mugs, bathroom garbage cans and Christmas ornaments, sweatshirts and hats, and no Packers fan can be truly happy unless they have a nativity scene in their front yard at Christmas time with a baby Brett Favre- errr, baby Aaron Rodgers in place of the baby Jesus. You cannot work with these people without them telling you how great the Packers are all week long and then having them make excuses as to why they lost every Monday. This is a perfect example of letting those around you know what your passion in life is- no one calls a Packers fan during the game on Sunday, no one bothers to invite them to anything that conflicts with game time- because everyone knows that they are going to waste their entire Sunday getting up at 7 AM to listen to the Packers pregame show, watch the game and then spend the rest of the night listening to the post game show. Use this same strategy as a snowmobiler and everyone will know not to bug you on the weekends. They will know that from Saturday morning until Sunday night you will be out on the trail.

2. PLAN THINGS FOR THE “MUDDY” TIMES: Three of my regular riding buddies all made huge errors this winter- one of them sold his sled in the middle of the season because he needs to pay for his wedding (which is in the SUMMER), my second friend went out of town to visit friends over the weekend and my third friend had his in-laws over for dinner on a Saturday. My three friends have two things in common- first their priorities are totally screwed up and secondly they all missed out on some of the best riding conditions of the year. I understand having to sell your sled for wedding money (although it does seem extreme) but at least wait until the end of the season. He claims he wanted to be sure it sold- well of course it sold it was the middle of the season! April and May are great times to get all of your social obligations and honey do projects out of the way. During the melt you cannot snowmobile anymore and your yard is too wet to start any yard work so you might as well take care of all of your other social obligations. This is the time to plan those weekend “out of town” trips to visit friends (especially if your friends live in West Yellowstone) and unless your in-laws usually arrive at your house on two brand new Ski-Doo Renegades then they can wait until spring to come over for dinner!

3. HAVE AN ITINERARY: Before the start of each season we sit down as a family and decide where we want to go and what we want to see over the course of the winter and then we start inking those rides in on the calendar. Sure we have plenty of off the cuff spur of the moment type rides but between my family, snowmobiling friends, and my schedule I pretty much fill up every weekend before the season starts. When you have a snowmobiling itinerary for the year you can pretty much let everyone know when you will be unavailable because you will be riding.

4. GET YOUR FAMILY INTO THE SPORT: The best way to avoid conflicts is to get your family and friends hooked on riding. I was lucky enough to marry someone who loves to ride and can’t wait for the first snowflakes to fall- luckily this trait has been passed down to my daughter so I always have someone to ride with and very little that takes precedence over riding.

Just because winter is ending doesn’t mean the blog is ending. Keep checking in for new articles and new updates for what will be coming up for the 2014- 2015 season.


Once again the National Weather Service dropped the ball. For days we heard how this huge snowstorm was going to dump a ton of snow on Northeast Minnesota- besides a swath of a good 8 inches south of Duluth this storm was a big dud with Duluth getting around an inch and points farther north getting a dusting. So where does that leave the trails? We did go out and ride Wednesday night and the trails were quite nice- icy under that dusting of snow but there is still a great base. If you have a studded track you are in great shape for the weekend- without studs your back end may be sliding quite a bit in the corners. Overall the base is still fantastic- roughly 12 -14 inches in most places. There are more rumors of a significant amount of snow falling from Duluth to the Canadian border on Friday but I’ll believe it when I see it.


Snowmobilers are a strange breed, at least to some folks. While most of the “normal” people grow tired of winter, the die-hard snowmobiler gets slightly depressed when the thermometer creeps above the freezing mark and the snow banks stat to recede. This pain comes from the knowledge that it will be at least another seven or eight months before the snow flies again and they have to spend all of that time looking at their sled sitting undercover in their garage, replaced by the lawn mower and weed whacker. This winter looked like it was well on its way out as we jumped from the twenty below zero range right into temperatures in the mid forties. No teens or twenties here- just winter coming to an abrupt end. Of course, we thought the same thing last winter. I took my obligatory last ride of the season, parked the sled and watched all of the snow melt off my deck. Then one day in April I grabbed my video camera to catch some shots of the huge April snowflakes falling from the sky- 52 inches of snow later I had put another 300 miles on my sled! These late season snows gave us two of the craziest riding days we had all year including one where we got caught in the storm and the visibility got so bad we began wondering if we would find our way back to headquarters.

So here we are in the midst of another forty-degree stretch wondering how long the trails will be open only to find ourselves back below zero a week later with a potential monster storm looming on the horizon. I guess Mother Nature doesn’t give up that easily. Who knows we might have a couple more weekends left of riding after all!



Trail Update- We don’t really have to do trail updates this year because we’ve had 80 inches of snow so far and its been so cold that practically none of it has melted. Lets just say that everything in the Arrowhead is awesome- quite frankly none of us can remember when the trails have been so consistently perfect, unfortunately temps that constantly range in the twenty to thirty below zero range makes riding a little less enjoyable.

Once in a while you hit the trail just because you feel like going for a ride and you really don’t have a specific agenda, but most of the time you have a plan, whether it be a specific route or destination. This is why we have started our latest blog feature called “Destination” where we highlight a location that you can build your trip around. Some of these places you will have heard of, but some of them you have not. In our hours on the trail we run across some obscure places that most riders don’t even know exist. As the Northeast Minnesota snowmobile blogger it is my job to let everyone else in the state know about the must sees when they come to our neck of the woods. It is our mission at to help maximize every snowmobiler’s enjoyment of the sport, that is why we are always adding new features and new data to the site and why we have created the “Trail In Focus” and “Destination” features on the blog. Our first “Destination” feature is on the Trestle Inn, perhaps the most iconic stop in all of Minnesota. As the website that was created by snowmobilers for snowmobilers we felt it only fitting to highlight the place that coined that very phrase: “Built by snowmobilers for snowmobilers,” The Trestle Inn.



If you have ever been on a snowmobile in Northeast Minnesota you have undoubtedly heard of the Trestle Inn, unless you have been living under a rock. As I mentioned in my previous blog about the North Shore State Trail, the DNR’s original plan was to build a trail from Duluth to the Canadian border, theorizing that once the trail was completed it would result in locals getting together to build a system of feeder trails. They were correct in their assumption. Two huge snowmobile enthusiasts Lee Schumacher and his son Kurt were pivotal in punching a trail from their year round home and business, the Crooked Lake Resort, to the North Shore State Trail. In the Process they came across an old railroad trestle that was part of the old logging railroads that used to traverse the area in the early 1900’s. With permission of the DNR they disassembled the trestle and hauled the timber to their resort. With the later completion of the Tomahawk trail which runs from the NSST to Ely, the Schumachers decided to put the old railroad timbers to good use and build a place for snowmobilers to stop and relax on their long treks. In 1985 the Trestle Inn was completed and as the Schumacher’s predicted was soon over run with snowmobilers. For a more detailed history you can read the complete story online at




The Trestle Inn owes its success to a number of factors One major contributor is its location: right on the iconic Tomahawk rail, and when we say right on the trail we literally mean it – the trail runs through the Trestle Inn Parking lot (a parking lot that rarely sees a car). Second is the atmosphere- this place was built for snowmobilers and they pride themselves on that fact- if you were to drive to the Trestle Inn in a car or truck in the middle of winter it would be kind of like the guy that gets his Picante sauce from New York City, everyone stops and looks at you like you are some kind of freak. And lastly is the food- in the business of pleasing snowmobilers you have to have some good grub to keep them happy and the Trestle Inn delivers like no other.




When we decided to make a run to the Trestle Inn we wanted to get the most out of our day so we trailered up to Finland and launched our sleds at the CJ Ramstad North Shore State Trail. The section of the NSST from Finland to the Tomahawk intersection is a staff favorite and we try to start our rides from there at least a few times a year. Once you get on the Tomahawk you are in snowmobiler paradise- long stretches of pine lined trails that flow over gently rolling terrain. Before you know it your at the Trestle Inn amidst a slew of other sleds. It looks big from the outside but it is surprisingly cozy on the inside. As with all good snowmobile bars there is a place for your gear, beyond that is the bar and a few tables and then the kitchen. The second floor is home to a large banquet room that can be reserved for large groups or events.

We sat at the bar and perused the menu- all of the regular fare: burgers fries etc but then as you neared the bottom of the menu you see the Train Wreck- a beef patty and a bratwurst patty- with bacon sandwiched in the middle and the whole thing is covered in cheese- we couldn’t pass that up. When the bartender came to take our order he asked if we wanted our Train Wreck with Casualties. “What’s the Train Wreck With Casualties?“ my buddy asked. “It’s the Train Wreck… With Casualties.“ Well that cleared things up. We eventually figured out that the Train Wreck With Casualties is the Train Wreck burger with whatever else the cook wants to throw on it. I wasn’t feeling too adventurous so I stuck with the regular Train Wreck- my buddy got the Casualties- and let me tell you there were lots of Casualties. He ate the thing with a fork and knife all the while saying out loud “How can I eat this thing?” I watched in awe as he shoveled in fork full after fork full. “I know I should stop but its too damn good,” he said- and he ate the whole thing. We thought it was best to sit for a while and let some of the casualties work through his system before we hopped back on the sled.

We spent the next half hour people watching. There was an endless stream of riders coming and going. This truly was a snowmobile haven built for snowmobilers by snowmobilers.

Eventually we got back on our sleds and enjoyed some more of the trails in this part of Minnesota that gets more snow than almost anywhere else in the state. It was one of those days where you could have just kept riding and riding but unfortunately we had other obligations to attend to and eventually we reluctantly returned to our trailer and went home.

What did we learn from all of this? First that a trip to the Trestle Inn needs to be on every snowmobiler’s bucket list if nothing else just to ride the Tomahawk Trail- and secondly that there can be a lot of casualties in a Train Wreck!